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Bethel Church responds to deadly California wildfires

by Tola Mbakwe

The so-called Carr Fire that affected Redding - a city of around 92,000 people about 230 miles north of San Francisco - was ignited by a vehicle problem last Monday about ten miles west of the city.

The fire was among 17 significant blazes in the state on Sunday that had forced roughly 50,000 people from their homes, including Joel Taylor, the head of Bethel Music. 

Bethel Church said in a statement: "Our hearts are with families in our local community who have lost loved ones, lost homes, or have been displaced by the Carr Fire."

The church's disaster relief team, Bethel Global Response, has partnered with the Salvation Army to be a distribution hub for people in need.

The church initially wanted to serve as an evacuation centre but was told by Red Cross and Redding city officials that the church's College View campus was too close to the fire.

While preparing to be a distribution hub on Sunday, Jordan Pacilio, director of Bethel Global Response said: "This is the first time we have provided disaster relief efforts while also being directly impacted by the disaster ourselves."

The church will be distributing household supplies, food supplies and children clothing to families in need.

So far authorities have reported six deaths and a dozen people missing.

Bethel Church has asked people to pray that the winds die down, for the smoke to lift for planes to be able to provide air coverage, for no more loss of life and for peace, safety and wisdom for firefighters and first responders.

Christian charity Samaritan's Purse has also sent help. The organisation, led by US evangelist Rev Franklin Graham, sent a tractor trailer filled with equipment and supplies.

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