An assortment of churches across states has been either destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Ida.
The Category 4 hurricane has had a devastating effect on the United States, with record speeds of 172 mph ripping through various communities. As of September 8, at least 17 people died due to Ida in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, with additional damage done in New York due to flooding.
Louisiana Baptist Convention director of Missions John Hebert told the Baptist Press that at least 80 Southern Baptist churches were damaged by the storm in Louisiana, with several others hit in the wake of the storm.
"We have churches ranging from desperate to recovering, and the desperate ones need help," Hebert told BP. "Insurance rates are out of this world. It's going to be tough for them...But most of our churches will be okay in the long run. It's just right now, we have a crisis at hand and we need all the help we can get."
At least 30 of the most damaged churches were in the Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. "The churches there, almost all of them are damaged and damaged pretty severely,"
St Charles United Methodist Church, located in Destrehan, lost one of its buildings to the storm.
"The roof blew off," says Michelle Harris, pastor of St Charles. "The Sunday School building - it's a total loss." Several other UMC churches have suffered damage from water leaks or destroyed support structures. UMC Bishop James Swanson Sr. told United Methodist News that it is too early to send response teams due to the rough traveling conditions and emphasis on damage assessment. Louisiana Conference Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey encourages those worried to make financial donations to the local conferences to fund repairs.
Churches in New York are also reporting severe damage. First Baptist Church in Mamaroneck, New York, is one example that has been heavily affected. After being damaged by Tropical Storm Henri in mid-August, the local church could not get enough time to recover from the damage entirely. The parish's pastor describes the damage as "ten times worse than the last hurricane."