We had plenty of warning, and as scheduled, the cold arrived on Sunday, February 14, Valentines Day, in the evening. We could not see the massive power and water outages coming. Our buildings are not built for this, nor our privatized Texas electrical grid. We woke up the next morning with no electricity, no water and a blanket of snow, an unfamiliar sight in these parts.
We have a fireplace, so we have been warm. I cooked on the grill. Frozen and refrigerated foods were set out on the back porch. We were able to get water at the church, and when the road went bad, we melted snow, collected runoff and boiled the water for days. By Tuesday, February 16 at 2:30 the power came on and stayed on. By Thursday, February 18 we had water.
Having watched women in Africa walk miles twice a day for water, I cannot complain. A couple of days ago 1 million Houstonians were without power. Many have no fireplace.
I’ve watched people struggle this week. Texas opted out of the federal power grid to privatize. This means no incentive for backups. Leaders say “it’s worth it.” Such disregard for those on the lower end of the economic spectrum.
Thursday Houston issued a boil order for 6 million people in Harris County. This lasted the whole weekend. The last hard freeze was Friday night. Then the temps began to climb. As pipes unfroze we saw more surprises and flooding. Principe de Paz Houston flooded. If you have no water, turn the water off to your church or house. If you have water, let a few Faucett’s trickle to keep the water moving through the pipes. Friday we high of 43°. Saturday 54°. Sunday 60°. Wednesday 70°.
As of this writing, here is how the snowpacalypse has affected the Gulf Coast Synod, to my knowledge. Summary first, then photos below. Let me know if there are updates.
Besides many members of the community and congregations, here are some of our leaders with flooding, due to burst pipes, that I know of.
• Pastor Pat Lehrer’s home (Brenham).
• Pete and Elida Lopez’ (Angleton) kitchen ceiling fell in and their home flooded.
• Gift Planner Lizbeth Johnson’s home.
• Chuck and Barb Kindsvatter (The Woodlands) had the dining room ceiling fall in and flooding from a pipe burst.
• Pastor Mindy roll busted pipes.
• Pastor Chuck Kindsvatter dining room ceiling fell after pipe burst.
• Pastor Bill and a Kathleen Schwertlich.
• Pastor Alan Kethan (Columbus, Texas) had a burst pipe that flooded the living room of the parsonage.￼
9 Congregations I know of with major damage.
• Spirit of Joy The Woodlands (Pr. David Hansen)
• Christus Victor League City (Pr. Tammy Sharp)
• Grace Conroe Church and School (Pr. Diane Roth)
• St. John Lutheran Church in Angleton flooded.
• New Hope in Missouri City (Pr. Chris Michaelis) burst pipe in their gym building. “Pretty gnarly,” he says.
• Iglesia Luterana Principe de Paz, Houston.
• Kinsmen in Houston (Pastors Beth Warpmaeker, Mark England, Gabriel Marcano) had quite a bit of water. The fire system burst in the top floor of their youth and family building. The water travelled through the ceiling, down the stairs and down the hall to Kinsmen Children’s Academy. Parts of community life center were affected: the gym, the choir room and classrooms. KCA is opening today.
• St. John Waller (Pastor Sandy Jones) flooding in Fellowship Hall starting demolition on Friday, February 26, 2021.
• St. Paul in Baytown (Pastor Nancy Simpson) significant flooding. They also flooded in Harvey.
• St. Paul in Brenham Texas had significant flooding in the basement of the church.￼
• St. Paul in Columbus Texas had two broken pipes which flooded three areas of the church.￼
• Lakeside in League City had a burst pipe in their parish house, which they rent out.￼
Also in our prayers:
• Pastor Karen Buck, mom in Blanco had a stroke. And just about everybody else in the synod dealing with power outages, water outages and the like.
• Pastor Deb Grant sleeping in her car with pet. No heat at home.
• Faith Bellaire (Houston) burst pipe outdoors. No flooding.
• Zion in Houston, minor pipe burst.
• Pastor Junfeng Tan (Faith, Bellaire) pipe burst outside home. No flooding.
• United in Swiss Alp, manageable leaks.
We’ve had some donations to the disaster fund. Once the weather has abated our Synod Disaster Team will take stock and see who needs help.
Spirit of Joy in The Woodlands (Pr. David Hansen)
St. John in Angleton (Pr. Pete Lopez)
Christus Victor In League City (Pr. Tammy Sharp)
Grace in Conroe Church and School (Pr. Diane Roth)
I popped in for a visit. Bill Blum and Becky were on top of things. And Chad Kirby’s company, United Restoration, was on top of everything. Amazing.
Sprinkler system pipes burst on the second floor. This will be a huge job. Additionally pipes burst in a bathroom in the church building.
Iglesia Luterana Principe de Paz
I visited Principe dePaz on Sunday morning, February 21, 2021 and took the following pictures:￼
Kinsmen Lutheran Church in Houston