If every person who attends church on the Semiahmoo Peninsula this Sunday donates to help White Rock fire victims, the impact could be significant.
And that’s exactly what Peter Klenner and other pastors behind the Peninsula Pastors Network are hoping for.
“I’ve written to all the pastors on the Peninsula to see if we can get all of the churches to make a donation,” Klenner told Peace Arch News of an appeal issued last month in conjunction with the City of White Rock.
“I’ve had pretty good response from all of them. They’re just really keen to help.”
More than 100 residents were displaced by the May 15 fire – which police confirmed last week was intentionally set – that heavily damaged the Ocean Ridge condominium complex in the city’s Five Corners district. A dozen ground-level businesses were also impacted.
Klenner said network pastors including Mike Schroeder of Life Church and Peter Wu of New Song Christian Life Centre started talking that same day about how best to help.
“The issue was finding out what the need was, and not what the perceived need is,” Klenner said.
A decision was made to focus on three key areas: help with basic needs such as clothing and toiletries; accommodation; and the relief fund. No more clothing donations are needed, the pastors noted.
Regarding the relief fund – dubbed the Pentecost Sunday Fire Relief – Klenner said there is potential to raise a lot of money this weekend. He estimated 10,000 Christians attend church on the Semiahmoo Peninsula on any given Sunday.
“Wouldn’t it be great if the people of White Rock could make a huge donation?” he said. “We could do a lot to help them.”
Funds collected at the churches will be donated to Sources Community Resource Centres for distribution where and as needed. Cheques should be made out to Life Church.
Klenner said the pastors network is also co-ordinating a central response in the event of a large-scale emergency in the future; to help cities respond in times of disaster.
Schroeder noted that needs that arise – for accommodation, etc. – are not typically ones that can resolve overnight.
“These needs, they keep going and going and going,” he said.
For more on the fundraiser, Klenner may be reached at 604-209-5570.