Sabbatical Chronicles by Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton

“We Take a Licking and Keep on Ticking”

When I arrived back from Sabbatical, Hurricane Ida had already hit. A couple of weeks later, we are now working through Nicholas, a lower category storm, that still managed to dump huge amounts of rain on Louisiana and Mississippi. But don’t you know our disaster relief representative in my absence, Rev. Miles Cook, our Week of Compassion Representative, Rev. Caroline Hamilton-Arnold, along with Rev. Bobbie Yellott, Rev. Vince Endris, Rev. Dr. Jarrett Banks, Kristen Beach, and Teonicka, were already working and collaborating on ways to provide relief for those who had been hit by the Ida.  

Miles Cook shared, “In a matter of hours, we connected and came up with a way to make sure donations from Pinnacle Outreach Ministry could be sent so that supplies could be bought in Lake Charles, LA and taken over to Covington, LA so that Jarrett Banks could distribute to those in need. Jarrett shared, “There are people who were devastated by the hurricane who could not come and pick up supplies, so we wanted to use our truck and trailer to take the supplies to those people – people who we already served meals and provide outreach services to. You will know them – all you have to do is drive around and see who is sitting on their porch.” My God! And so many others who took it upon themselves, like FCC Sulphur, with Bobbie and Randy, to deliver supplies. 

There are no words to express the sacrifice, commitment, and work of Caroline Hamilton-Arnold, with Week of Compassion. She is oftentimes making connections that we are not even aware of. She represents a “critical presence” that is very much appreciated. The solidarity grants that Week of Compassion provides help ease the temporary and immediate needs of churches and members and chart out long-term recovery strategies with disaster relief organizations and volunteers around the country.  

I shared with a candidate during my search and call communications on behalf of congregations, “The Great River Region is a disaster relief region. Natural disasters are a normal part of who we are. We don’t stress, get anxious, or give up when hurricanes or storms hit. Instead, our priority is to make sure that our people are okay. Buildings can be replaced…but lives cannot. Once we find out our people are okay, then we move on to making connections, finding out whose church or home has been affected and work from there. Before I knew it, I told the candidate, “Here in the Great River, we take a licking, and keep on ticking.” And both of us let out a hearty laugh!

The Timex watch survived paint mixtures, dishwashers, jackhammers, washing machines, water skies, and even an 87-foot dive off the LaQuebrada Cliffs in Acapulco, Mexico. And after every test, the company reiterated the slogan, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Sorry to borrow it from them, but it is so fitting of the courage, tenacity, and perseverance of so many congregations and members in Louisiana and Mississippi that keep on standing the test of Time (ex) during Hurricane season:  floods, windstorms, property damage, mold, and mildew, moving and changing worship services, with the grace of God on their side. So, yes, “We take a licking and keep on ticking.” I don’t know about you, but that’s a shout!

If you know of someone who needs the services of Week of Compassion or Just Love Ministries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Regional Office.