Hurricane Wilma caused considerable damage across South Florida, but, in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this devastation received little national attention. South Florida is my home area, and my parents, siblings, and extended family remain in the region. Word from my father is that the area remains a landscape of blue tarps, twisted steel, and decimated vegetation. President Bush toured the area just after the storm, visiting the disaster relief operation at my home church, First Baptist Church of Pompano Beach, Florida.
The hurricane also caused extensive damage to the sanctuary of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, where Dr. D. James Kennedy is pastor. A statement from the church reads: Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church was particularly hard hit by the huge storm. Huge trees were uprooted and the church’s metal roof was ripped off in places allowing water to gush into the sanctuary soaking the carpet and dropping ceiling plaster on pews. The sanctuary will be unfit for use until repairs are made, a process that will take months. Church services will be held in the church fellowship hall and chapel until repairs are complete. “Now, how do we respond to that?” said Dr. Kennedy who surveyed the damage after the storm hit. “Well, I want to say, Praise God. As pastor of this church I can rejoice and praise God that no one in our congregation was killed or seriously injured. For that we give God great praise. God has blessed us and we are confident that with his grace and people in the church and congregation that all of this will be rebuilt.” A video tour of the damage is available here.