New Wine celebrates tornado recovery; jumps to help others

Published 12:11 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

LAPLACE — New Wine Christian Fellowship was called to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s Aug. 25 initial strike into Texas.

Pastor Neil Bernard said his LaPlace church family coordinated shelter and resources for a displaced Corpus Christi family of 17.

In the week-plus since, New Wine leaders and parishioners have continued to offer shelter, supplies and love.

According to Bernard, it is his church’s calling, a mission that was made all the more clear following their own 18-month recovery from a devastating 2016 tornado that created approximately $2.5 million in damages to their Airline Highway church sanctuary and gym building.

“We, basically, had to redo our whole sanctuary, as well as major construction and steel erection in our gym,” Bernard said. “We finally completed all the renovations and sort of had a grand opening for our church facility.”

Church members and parish officials celebrated the successful renovation last week following Sunday’s service.

It could not have come at a better time.

Bernard said his church has already heard from numerous families and school districts looking for long-term evacuation and relocation solutions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

It’s a challenge New Wine is ready to meet.

“I understand what you’re going through when the place that you live or the place you worship is totally devastated by a natural disaster,” Bernard said. “There is hopelessness at first. There is stress about not knowing what you are going to do. I understand what all those families and business people are feeling as they see their buildings flooded.”

Bernard said he stays encouraged because of his belief in whatever God allows is always redeemable — “we’ve seen how it works for our community.”

The theme to New Wine Christian Fellowship’s grand reopening centered on Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

“We look back a year and a half on what was devastating for our facility, and it has worked for our good,” Bernard said. “We now have a brand new, state-of-the-art worship facility. Everything has been renovated. We are grateful for all teams and people who helped, volunteered, cleaned and removed debris.

“We certainly want to give back. We are already looking forward to seeing how we can help the people of the Houston area because we can certainly identify with what they are going through.”