Tornado damages St. Luke's
After the Class 3 tornado ripped through North Dallas, the Rev. Mark Anderson, rector of St. Luke’s in Dallas went to the church to check out the damage.
"It looked like tree damage and glass, at night it didn't look that bad," Anderson said. But the light of day brought a different picture into focus. "I came with my junior warden and found the roof in the courtyard, he said. "The gas-lines were in the trees. We walked into the education building and water was everywhere." The education building which housed offices and the Park Cities Day School suffered severe damage. At least temporarily the school has to be relocated. Some windows were broken in the main sanctuary, including a few stained glass panels. The colorful chapel had minor damages. The facilities manager who lives on the church campus with his family, took refuge in the sanctuary.
"Monday morning parishioners started showing up with plywood to cover windows. They began sweeping up the glass that was everywhere, and our local boy scout troop was in touch asking how they can help," Anderson said. "For those who love St. Luke's they have shown an outpouring of love."
Because the neighborhood was hit so hard, some roads were closed, and Anderson parked a quarter of a mile a way and has walked to the church. It has turned into an outreach opportunity, and he met one neighbor who was crying over the damage in her longtime neighborhood. "I talked to her and we prayed together," Anderson said.
To help parishioners cope with their damaged church, Anderson has sent a daily email with updates, and included a daily video that provides a theological framework in which to think about the storm's aftermath and what everyone is going through.
The church has united together to help the neighborhood and plan to provide a community church service and barbecue this Sunday. They also plan to help a parishioner who had extensive home damage box their belongings for storage as they move in with family while they await reconstruction.
"In the face of this crisis instead of facing inward, we are facing outward which is what we are called to do as Christians," Anderson said.
Throughout the diocese, other damages include the Episcopal School of Dallas which closed for several days this week due to road closures around the school and a power outage, according to regional news reports. Transfiguration reports roof damage and said they are working to determine whether it needs repairs or replacement. Saint Michael and All Angels is gathering supplies for the Dallas Independent School District since several schools sustained severe damage. Other organizations assisting in the relief effort include the North Texas Food Bank, Red Cross of North Texas, St. Vincent de Paul, and United to Learn. For more information about how to help contact Keith Turbeville, director of natural disasters for the diocese.