Regular Baptist Builders Club and Bruce McLain, state representative of the California Association of Regular Baptist Churches, are monitoring the ongoing wildfires in Southern California, where homes have been destroyed and strong winds have forced 110,000 people to be evacuated around the greater Los Angeles area. The GARBC has 27 churches within 50 miles of Los Angeles.
Bible Baptist Church and its parsonage in Oak View are in a mandatory evacuation area because of the large Thomas Fire burning north of town. McLain says, “My main concern has been Oak View. I talked to Pastor Dan Fitzgerald of Bible Baptist, who said he is not aware of any church family homes that have been lost in the fire.” Fitzgerald is staying with his sister in Ventura until the evacuation order is lifted. At 96,000 acres, the Thomas Fire is roughly the size of Denver. The blaze is 5 percent contained.
In addition, McLain spoke with Jim Reinebach, pastor of Carpenteria Valley Baptist Church, who reported that his church members do not have evacuation orders and are safe. Valley Baptist is located in the heart of Carpenteria, with the Thomas Fire five miles southeast.
Thousand Oaks Baptist Church is not in danger. Pastor Jared Mitchell says he can see a fire from the church, but the fire is in Ventura, about 25 to 30 minutes away from his church in Thousand Oaks. He says the fire is not containable because of the wind. “The wind is supposed to stop by Sunday, and if that is the case, we should be fine,” he says. “There is a slight chance that it could jump over the mountain and come to us, but at this point we are looking good.”
The Rye Fire is burning out of control around Santa Clarita, home to Santa Clarita Baptist Church. According to Santa Clarita’s website, the fire is approximately 5 percent contained and 1,300 homes have been evacuated.
Earlier this fall, wildfires in Northern California destroyed thousands of homes. First Baptist Church in Windsor and First Baptist Church in Weaverville had 11 families who lost homes. Even after insurance settlements and government assistance, some church members will have long-term financial needs.
Regular Baptist Builders Club Director Clare Jewell says the ministry exhausted all of its Disaster Relief funds that were donated this fall for relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but the ministry would like to do more to help these California churches. Would you please consider a gift this Christmas to help these churches minister to their members and reach out with God’s love to their communities? Donate now to assist brothers and sisters in Christ.