Yesterday in Moore, OK, huge tornadoes battered everything. A path a mile wide and twenty miles long was devastated. Tornado winds of 200 mph ripped through everything as the storm crawled along at only about 15 mph. That means that some areas had tornado winds for as long as 45 minutes. Naturally, the loss of life is horrific, though precautions and warnings saved countless lives. The power of the storm was incalculably more powerful than the wind from the C-5. As it moved slowly across the Oklahoma City suburbs, it pounded buildings and cars to dust.
The giant C-5A Galaxy transport aircraft was made in Marietta, GA. It is absolutely massive. It will hold tanks and busses, literally hundreds of tons of cargo.
When it was first being tested, I remember sitting at the end of the runway at Dobbins AFB next to the Lockheed plant. When one of the C-5s came out for a test flight, it lined up at the end of the runway and sat with the brakes set while they fired up the giant engines. Behind the plane the concrete runway was bounded by asphalt that curved down away from the runway. The force from the giant engines was so great, and the airflow from them was so powerful, as it flowed across the curved asphalt, the paving acted like a wing or an airfoil. As the jets thundered, the lift over the curved asphalt was so great that the asphalt lifted off the ground and began flapping in the air like a tablecloth being blown by a fan. It was not long before the asphalt began to break up and huge table-sized chunks of paving were sent flying at cars that were passing by. It is hard to believe how powerful the engines on the C-5 are, even recognizing how big the plane is.
St. James Anglican Church (part of the International Diocese) lies only a few thousand feet north of the pathway of the devastation. Already it has turned into an operations center to coordinate aid. Churches from around the International Diocese and others across the Anglican Church in North America have already started gathering resources to care for those whose lives have been so terribly wounded. A large horse trailer is en route to St. James, packed with baby supplies, clothes, and formula. The church, along with many others, is distributing water and food as well. Many people have literally lost all of their material possessions.
St. James’ new rector, Fr. Tere Wilson, was only installed a week ago. “It is certainly a new ministry just days after becoming Senior Pastor here,” he said. “We are gathering resources and making the parish property available to distribute help. We already have clothes, baby supplies, and formula. There will be lots of needs for a long time.”
The church is setting up a data base to match mission work teams with needs in the area. A PEAR-USA group in Connecticut has already been in touch about bringing a mission team down to help with clean-up and construction. Others will likely soon follow. The devastation is tremendous, but the people are resilient. In the midst of the anguish, the Gospel is a bright light in the midst of terrible darkness.
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund has done massive work internationally. They have set up a web link for donations that will be forwarded for the International Diocese to administer in Oklahoma. Those who are interested in sending donations through ARDF can do so through a link at: http://weblink.
Donations for relief that the International Diocese is coordinating can also go through Ekklesia at http://www.ekk.org
In a twenty square mile area of Moore, there is nothing left. Nothing but loving survivors, desperate needs, and a Gospel of hope.