Hurricane Joaquin steered clear of the mainland U.S. last month, but the heavy rainfall associated with the storm didn’t. As record rain fell on the U.S. East Coast, South Carolina experienced unprecedented flooding.
The floods closed roads and bridges, and residents helplessly watched as water seeped into their homes and churches. Pastor David Snodgrass couldn’t just sit back and watch as the floods devastated his community. The senior pastor of Camden, South Carolina, First Church of the Nazarene in Camden and Trevecca Nazarene University alumnus took the initiative to help his neighbors recover.
As part of a larger district-wide effort, Snodgrass rallied the community to assemble Crisis Care Kits. These kits included items such as shampoo, toothpaste, towels, and other hygiene items.
“Our church is driven by four missional habits: gather, grow, go, and give," Snodgrass said. “And we as a church understand that it is certainly a time to go and give to our community and the surrounding communities.”
Snodgrass led a team from Camden to Abundant Life Church of the Nazarene in Columbia, which was completely flooded. The Camden group partnered with Abundant Life parishioners and their pastor, Joshua Keith, a 1999 Trevecca grad, to begin the repair effort. The group also worked to meet the needs of those who had lost much in the floods.
“One lady in our church worked with someone who totally lost everything in the flood,” Snodgrass said. “So our church took part in collecting things like beds, clothes, toys … to help them get reestablished.”
Snodgrass and his congregation weren’t the only South Carolina churches to reach out to those in need. South Carolina District Superintendent Eddie Estep wrote that 600 Crisis Care Kits were sent to shelters throughout Sumter County and around Columbia, where the flooding was worst. Another church, Columbia Church of the Nazarene, partnered with Feed the Children, an organization that combats childhood hunger, to distribute food and disaster relief boxes filled with cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items.
Snodgrass was touched by the response of his district.
“I think this is what is beautiful about being a part of a connection church like the Church of the Nazarene,” Snodgrass said. “When a disaster strikes we can quickly contact our Nazarene churches in those areas and begin to partner with them to help them reach their communities.”
Estep, who is a member of Trevecca’s Board of Trustees, echoed this sentiment.
“Most encouraging has been the response of our Nazarene family around the district and across the USA/Canada Region,” he wrote. “The expressions of concern, assurances of prayers, and provision of financial assistance and supplies have been most appreciated.”
South Carolina is still rebuilding, having sustained well over $1 billion in damages, particularly to infrastructure and residential areas. Snodgrass believes the South Carolina District will continue to put their faith into action.
“We are motivated to respond to our neighbors by the very words of Jesus: to love our neighbor as ourselves,” he said.