“It’s a privilege:” Celebration Baptist storm team ready to make a difference during Hurricane season

The Celebration Baptist Church relief team can be activated in an instant and help folks both...
The Celebration Baptist Church relief team can be activated in an instant and help folks both locally and across the state.(WCTV)
Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 8:09 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Volunteer groups are closely watching Tropical Storm Elsa’s march towards Florida. That includes Celebration Baptist Church.

The church pulls from its large congregation to form a multi-purpose storm team. Its leaders say it’s as impactful now as ever.

According to Celebration Missions Pastor Scott Carter, the storm team formed in 2016, but really solidified in Hurricane Michael’s aftermath. He called Michael “the biggest test the church has had.”

While the Capital City was spared from devastation, parts of the area were still scarred and in need of major help.

Pastor Scott said the church sprang into action

“It’s a congregation that loves to serve each other, but also loves to serve our community and the great city of Tallahassee,” he said.

Dozens of church members are on the team. Scott said the first goal is to check on the most vulnerable in the congregation in a storm’s aftermath.

“Widows, widowers, other senior citizens or other special needs,” he said.

A second goal is more wide-reaching. A team with trained disaster relief volunteers is ready to ship out anywhere in the region.

Volunteer Jennifer Hagenbuch has been with the church for a decade.

“It’s a privilege to serve other people,” she said.

She jumped at the chance to help just days after Hurricane Michael’s destruction, traveling to hard-hit Marianna to assist.

“It was probably one of the most emotional times I ever experienced,” she said. “Because people who had lost everything were so grateful for even the smallest things.”

So whether Elsa’s impacts prompt a response, or the call comes later in the season, Pastor Scott says they’ll be ready to serve.

“It’s very moving to work alongside people, to help them clean out and even restore a place where their family has been safe and has many memories,” he said.

Scott said the church waits for the word from the Florida Baptist Convention in Jacksonville before shipping off to a region in need, but local damage can prompt an instant reaction.

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