Paradise Wildfire Recovery Efforts - Retired Clergy Making a Difference

October 19, 2022 | by Steve Elliott

Paradise Wildfire Recovery Efforts - Retired Clergy Making a Difference

Paradise Wildfire Recovery Efforts - Retired Clergy Making a Difference

For the first time since the Covid 19 Pandemic started, the Retired Clergy Association (RCA) sponsored a mission work project.  October 2nd - 7th, 2022, seven RCA members, joined by four Endowment Board staff and four Habitat for Humanity volunteers labored on three homes in Paradise, CA. This community is struggling to recover after the whole town nearly burned to the ground four years ago. 

The non-profit Hope Crisis Response Network sponsored our work out of Middletown for several years and has established a volunteer presence in Paradise. New homes are financed primarily by Cal-Home loans.  Volunteer hours make it possible for the complete home to be built within the $150,000 loan.

During the week we shared worship in the Paradise UMC sanctuary which survived the fire. We were led by work camp participant Bob Chicou who was the pastor of the church at the time of the fire. Tearfully and prayerfully, we heard his witness to his experience.

The next night we heard from Steven Eatough-Smith who was chaplain to the Sheriff’s department at the time of the fire and accompanied the officers when they found and identified bodies. 

What gifts of ministry and experience are valuable to others who go through similar challenges!

Our thanks to Nadine DeWitt who began RCA’s work project ministry and to all our volunteers. It is an incredibly special collegial experience as well as a gift to communities struggling to find new life.

By Betty Padgett-Retired Clergy Association-Missions and Justice

Steve Elliott serves a the California-Nevada Conference Disaster Response & UMVIM Coordinator (Director).

Steve Elliott
Conference Disaster Response & UMVIM Coordinator (Director)
(925) 640-9797