Hurricane Harvey: A small picture of how horrible it is

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, members of the Union community in Texas reflect on the devastation and human suffering left by one of the most destructive storms in modern history and how their congregations are helping with recovery efforts. Alumna Jacqueline M. Hannan is the senior pastor of Atascocita Presbyterian Church in Humble, Texas, which is 20 miles north of Houston.


Rev. Jacqueline M. Hannan (M.Div.’94)

We are in the midst of it all right now but let me see if I can offer a small picture of this event. First, let me say that what you may have seen in the news is accurate but gives only a small picture of how horrible it is in the Houston area. There is a lull right now but we are told that the waters will rise again as some of the bayous and dams north of us are let out in order to release the pressure on them.

My family and I are fine. Our daughter did evacuate as the streets to the area of her home were impassible and we did not want her to be stranded. Our church is okay but there are numerous roof leaks. We do have power and water and never lost it. We are north of the city and seem to have fared well.

Notice posted on the home page of Atascocita Presbyterian Church’s website.

Our church members have not been so lucky. I am worried about them. Some were stranded in their homes, some were evacuated by boat, and quite a few lost everything.

As to seeing God in all of this, it is in the hands and the hearts of those who just jumped in to help. We have not had a worship service for this last week, but we have worshipped in sharing the love of Christ with so many. I have been cut off from my congregation but phone call after phone call was received with enthusiasm. I have so many doing so much. Today, as we worked at one house people, came down the street with cases of water, pizzas, hot dogs, you name it; things they purchased out of their own pockets to share because that was what they could do.

“This is one home we worked in,” said Hannan. “Every home on this street was just as bad.”

We just need hands. I am sure the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will be out in full force in the next few weeks. Clean up, clean up, clean up. That is all we can do for the next months. Our presbytery has been great and in constant contact.

Since my congregation had so many lose so much, we have been working with them. Interestingly enough, our church area was cut in half and I could not get to the church or to many of my members. I have been coordinating with others on the “other” side. A number of colleagues in other churches are hoping to get here this weekend.

My story is one of many. Please know every minister here has stories like mine.