PHOENIX – The Yarnell (Ariz.) Community Presbyterian Church was founded in 1940, when the main road between Wickenburg and Flagstaff brought travelers and new residents up the face of the Yarnell Hill.
Last weekend (Aug. 2-4), I was honored to visit the congregation and was given a brief tour of the wildfire-damaged area.
All told, 100 buildings were destroyed, including homes and outbuildings.
Yarnell church members are coordinating many of the recovery efforts, including leadership on the coordinating team and organizing volunteers and temporary housing needs. Motor homes and 5th wheels are being donated and set up in the driveways of those who lost their homes.
Fry’s Food Store has left a tractor trailer on the church lot for recovery use. More than enough clothes and furniture have now been received. The next step is continued cleanup and preparation for rebuilding.
In this small community nestled among the large boulders we find along the Arizona escarpments, I saw how the rocks protected some of the homes but couldn’t protect those in the path of the shifting winds on this hilltop.
On Aug. 4, I presented a check for $10,000 from national contributions to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and from those congregations in Grand Canyon Presbytery who have received a special offering. The Yarnell congregation was so grateful for this gift of hope.
Grand Canyon Presbytery continues to support this recovery effort. Please keep Pastor Paul Jones, the congregation and the community in your prayers.