Irvin Clark, the Connect Pastor of Christian Tabernacle, (at left with Houston Responds Exec Director Tommy Rosson) is a walking miracle who has survived life-threatening colon surgery, back surgery and Hurricane Harvey in a matter of months. When the storm of the century hit the Channelview area, Pastor Clark redirected his focus from his own personal recovery to flood disaster recovery on a massive scale.
Within hours --under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. R.A.Heard -- Christian Tabernacle became a hub for water, clothes, food, supplies and every need imaginable. With the help of many volunteers, they served an average of 400-600 people daily. Some 10 months later, the church continues to minister to area residents who are still displaced.
Pastor Clark recalls seeing a teary-eyed single mom in line for supplies. With three kids in tow, she was distraught, not knowing how she would ever survive losing everything. Her tremendous load of despair was lightened when volunteers equipped her with supplies, found some toys for her children and then prayed, assuring her that God was on her side. He adds, “That must have given her great comfort, because in a matter of weeks, she started coming to church.”
“The Harvey stories are hundreds deep,” Irvin shares, “and one I will never forget comes from a church member who found a homeless and destitute Hispanic family of five trying to survive at a city park. She brought the grandma, the young couple, and babies to the church and asked if she could cut in line to get them some food. As the pastor handed them food, the grandmother kissed his hand in gratitude and called him ‘Padre.’” Irvin adds, “My heart was touched to learn that, in her culture, this was symbolic of kissing the Pope’s hand, or a representative of God’s hand to her.” In a very short time, Christian Tabernacle gained yet another member by “being the church.”
Walking Each Family Through Disaster
As June approaches, the need is still great as many in the surrounding area struggle to find their way back to a new ‘normal’. Pastor Irvin has stepped up to join the Houston Responds organization by forming a network of area churches to work together helping with home repair, furniture, appliances, clothing, and legal services. He’s quickly rallied church leaders in zip codes near 77044 and 77049 to form a North Channel Collaboration team that would leverage expertise and resources with others under the Houston Responds banner. “I’m a connector,” says Pastor Clark, “and have a sizable database of other leaders who are active in the local school system, politics, and community outreach.” He is now fueling the Houston Responds ‘volunteer engine’ by recruiting dozens of churches in his region to help countless families continue to navigate repairs in the aftermath of a life in upheaval.
With a growing database of local churches and families, the Channelview network is connecting those who want to provide help with those who need it. Christian Tabernacle is teaming up with local politicians this summer to offer seminars and town hall meetings to provide resource updates and answer questions.
“We resonate with the model and mission of Houston Responds and know it is easier to bear it all when we share it all in Jesus’ Name,” declares Pastor Clark.