The mass followed a hard week of loss and devastation due to the mudslides, which claimed at least twenty lives and destroyed hundreds of homes in Santa Barbara County.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, located in Montecito, was right in the middle of the mandatory evacuation zone. Seven lives were lost in their parish community, with one person still missing.
Several agencies and volunteers have rushed into Montecito and the surrounding impacted areas to help, including nearby fire departments, search/rescue squads, construction experts, and the Army Corp of Engineers.
ICTG has been working closely with the clergy, youth director, and members of Mt. Carmel and Our Lady of Guadalupe to support those who have been most directly impacted as well as those who are grieving and hurting for their neighbors.
"It's so important in the aftermath of disaster to continue to come together, to connect with neighbors and loved ones, to share in grief, fellowship, and worship. It's in these spaces that the community begins to find it's first steps forward again," said ICTG Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Kate Wiebe.
This Sunday ICTG will be providing a special session of teaching and care for Mt. Carmel youth and parents.
Every available service is being offered to families impacted by the mudslides. ICTG Program Director for Youth Ministry, Doug Ranck, has been working with impacted youth leaders in the region and estimates that at one point there were over 1,500 people there to serve and help.
Sarah Mack, Youth Director at Mt. Carmel, has been on the phone with many different families and youth for the purpose of pastoral care and encouragement. She has been offering resources, collaborating with other youth leaders from neighboring Montecito churches and has offered fun activities to give kids a happy place and some sense of normalcy again.
“I am very proud of Sarah. I have known her since she was an eighth grader in my youth group and now she is a youth leader who is an excellent and wise shepherd in the midst of the most challenging times,” said Doug.
In the days ahead we will continue to provide updates on the blog about the work being done by ICTG staff and other faith leaders in the area in response to the devastating mudslides.
Your financial donations are so helpful right now. ICTG uses your contributions to provide training and vital networking opportunities for leaders impacted by collective traumas, such as the recent mudslides. You can give now by going to our Donate Online page. Thank you!