Soon after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005, Reverend Campbell and Harvard-Epworth reached out to UMC’s in the region and partnered with Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church in New Orleans. Since that time, Harvard-Epworth has sent 4 mission trip teams to New Orleans to help rebuild houses in part of the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
The first group was in New Orleans [NOLA] January 21 – 27, 2006. A second group was down February 18-24, 2006. The groups toured much of the devastation in the city and worked with the United Methodist Committee on Relief [UMCOR] on removing debris from and gutting houses. Another team journeyed down in 2007 and worked on rebuilding the interior of two houses. In 2008 a joint team from Harvard-Epworth and Calvary United Methodist in Arlington, MA traveled to NOLA and sheet rocked the interior of an entire house.
These teams went to work with the people of New Orleans in rebuilding their city and their lives.
The actual work was, of course, essential; but perhaps more important was building personal relationships with the people of the city. The deep and heartfelt gratitude from homeowners and people on the street, in the churches and in places of business was overwhelming. One homeowner called the January, 2006 team “her angels.” This was a transformational experience for many of the team members – the very presence of the team in a place so in need of healing.
Harvard-Epworth and Rayne Memorial continue a partnership with H-E’s contributions to the weekly free medical clinic (“Luke’s Place”) that is a collaboration between Rayne and several other NOLA UMC’s.