For many, December 23 was just another happy day in preparation for Christmas. However, for the community of Lutts, Tennessee, it was a day that will likely never leave the minds of its residents.
In the late hours of December 23, an EF-3 tornado ripped through the Lutts community, destroying Lutts United Methodist Church, the Lutts Post Office, and several homes. Many of the homes destroyed were unprotected from the tornado’s wrath and the community will not have the resources to rebuild on their own.
Tennessee Conference Disaster Response Teams responded quickly, aiding in clean-up of the storm damage, comforting families dealing with the aftermath of the storm, and helping residents begin the process of figuring out what’s next.
There is still a long way to go and the area is still in need of our support.
After hearing the stories and seeing images, the staff of the Tennessee Conference Young People’s Ministry (YPM) and the Conference Council on Youth Ministry (CCYM) pledged to help to the people of Lutts. They wanted to give and to be the hands and feet of Christ in whatever way they could.
This January 29-31 at Warmth in Winter, youth from all over the conference gave money to the Youth Service Fund, which helps to send youth into the world to be disciples of Christ and to change the world.
The fundraising goal for this year’s Warmth in Winter was $20,000, and in return for reaching this goal, Brad Fiscus (Director of Young People’s Ministry) shaved his head and his beard (which has been named the #MakeBradBald Campaign).
The YPM Staff and the CCYM decided that the first $5,000 raised at Warmth in Winter towards the #MakeBradBald campaign will go to the community of Lutts in their efforts to move forward from the wrath left by the tornado. This money will go toward helping repair damaged homes and rebuild homes completely destroyed, and to help families purchase day to day needs such as food, toiletries, clothing, etc.
The YPM Staff and CCYM are in prayer for the community of Lutts as they move through this time of grieving and pain, but we know that we worship a faithful and powerful God, and that greater things are still to come for the Lutts community.
Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church
Young People’s Ministry Staff