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Preaching in the Wake of Disaster

Five suggestions from pastors who have weathered fierce storms, supported by psychological and disaster mental health research.

Preaching in the Wake of Disaster

Between Sunday morning services on November 17th, 2013, an EF-4 tornado ripped through Washington, Illinois, destroying hundreds of homes, and touching down only 100 yards from the community center where Bethany Community Church meets. Senior Pastor Daniel Bennett did not preach his second sermon that day. In just a few moments, one person lost his life, and many people's belongings were strewn "across the state of Illinois," says Rev. Bennett.

Pastor Steve Walker was sitting in his office on October 1st, 2015, when his phone began ringing, dinging, and buzzing. "Someone down the hall yelled that there was an active shooter situation at Umpqua Community College," he says. "I don't need to tell you the news was very dark—a number of people had been executed, and there were rumors that the shooter had intended to target Christians."

Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus was a new pastor in Miami, Florida, in August 1992, when Hurricane Andrew displaced 35 percent ...

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