The Rev. Kristie Olah, Superintendent of El Camino Real District, has written circuit leaders of the district asking for continued prayer for victims of the San Bruno gas explosion and fire.
"Since San Bruno is now in El Camino Real District, we have a special connection with the pain and sorrow in the area after the recent tragedy," writes Olah. "I know many of you have been lifting the neighborhood people in prayer as they grieve their losses and seek appropriate care and help."
Noting that "Some of our brothers and sisters have a special connection," Olah recounts the efforts of First Tongan UMC of San Bruno to come to the aid of victims of the disaster. The church immediately opened its doors to the community and began servicing as a drop-off location for clothing, food, and other items. One family of 10 within the church lost its home and the church provided them with shelter and essential items right away. "Pastor Kalatini Ahio reached out to check on families within the first hour," Olah reports.
In addition, she writes, "Our brother pastor Peter Lau of New Vision UMC of Millbrae also contacted persons in his church who live in San Bruno. At least one family was evacuated.
"One leader in the Church of the Wayfarer of Carmel is still awaiting word on her family. Some of you may have seen the news stories of a grandmother, her son, and grandson who are missing. Their home was right near the blast. Pastor Norm Mowery of Carmel reports that one of his leaders … is the sister of the missing woman."
Olah notes that many organizations are responding to the disaster at this time. She says that when she meets with Peninsula church pastors on Tuesday evening, they will discuss where gaps may be and how United Methodists may fill them.
"Until then," she concludes, "please request prayers for all those who grieve, all who are healing in body and spirit, all who are living in fear and sorrow. May God bless each one through the days ahead."