Dear Siblings in Christ,
Unfortunately, the update on the church is not the good news that many had hoped. Lau Hall has the four walls standing but is gutted of everything else. The contents of Lau Hall, along with our neighbors’ contents, are now lodged under the sanctuary structure.
Although we all hoped the sanctuary was spared, the storm surge did breach that building. We took in water and the floor of the sanctuary has collapsed in one area with the middle aisle having damage to the floor boards. There is a car wedged under the sanctuary where the elevator and ramp used to be. We were, however, able to get into the office and safe to retrieve some items. The only remaining external stairs are the ones between the two buildings.

We cannot do anything until our insurance adjusters get to inspect the property and damage. However, the damage is well beyond what volunteers can tackle alone. We will need some professional contractors. The area, including the parking lot, is not safe.
I know how heartbreaking this news is for all of us! We need to lean on our faith hard at this time and surrender to God’s will and direction for St Peter and for Fort Myers Beach itself.

Please continue to pray for all our members and friends who are still struggling to get safe and dry housing, and whose trauma is very deep. We pray for the families who have lost loved ones and for those families who still have missing family members. We have not heard of any St Peter members and friends who have died at this point. We give thanks for that.

We are still the people of God, and may it give us comfort and strength to know that the whole Body of Christ is praying for us and supporting us.
Presently, our strategy will be to deal with immediate “people” needs physical, emotional, and spiritual. We will not hurry to react and make quick decisions about the future of St Peter.

In the meantime, you may be hearing from church council soon to provide information on our short-term needs. Please pray for our whole community of faith as we seek to honor the rich history of St Peter while discerning the feasibility of a future ministry.
Be safe. Keep in touch. We love you all.
Peace, Pastor Sharon
Dear siblings in Christ,
As you know by now it has been a difficult five days since Hurricane Ian hit us. The destruction and loss of life is like none we have experienced in recent history. None of us could have imagined our present reality. Some of our full time members have lost their homes, cars, and possessions and are scattered around the county and beyond. Some of our seasonal members believe they have lost their homes but have no way of being certain. Some know that their homes are gone.

In the midst of this unbelievable suffering, we give thanks that those of us who experienced the storm’s destruction are still alive. We are broken-hearted for our fellow FMB community members who have died and are injured. We pray for all who are affected by the storm’s continuing devastation.
As many of you may know, we still do not have access to the island or our church property. The buildings are standing but their condition and structural integrity are uncertain. We will keep you updated as we can. Cell service has been spotty and we are still without power, so please be patient with us.

I know that we are all heartbroken by the damage to our beloved St Peter. So many of you have poured your time, talent, and treasure into this ministry for decades. Please know your sacrifices have not been in vain. You have already served so many people in our community and no storm can take that away from you.
Pastor Tony Campolo preached a sermon about the death and resurrection of Jesus. He described the grief and despair that the disciples, both men and women, must have experienced after Jesus’ death. They must have thought all was lost. Pastor Campolo said “it may be Friday, but Sunday is coming!”

He was describing that waiting time between the death and the resurrection. That time when God seemed silent, and they felt abandoned. We may be feeling that way right now; our vision veiled by death. Yet, as people of faith, we need to remind one another that “Sunday is coming”. Resurrection life is coming. God promises to bring life out of death. That life will not be the same, but it will be imbued with the love and light of God that never leaves us! Please pray for one another. Support one another. Hug your family. Live each day with gratitude as if it is your last. Serve others.

It is a privilege to serve as your pastor. I send my love and prayers to you all wherever you are. May God bless you and keep you as you move through your grief and trauma. We are here for you and so is the wider church. We have already received so many emails and calls of prayers and support. However God leads us forward, we will be held by the Body of Christ around the country.

Please be safe. If you have not checked in with me, please send me an email and let me know you are safe and where you are.
May the constant love of God be your comfort and strength.

Peace and Love, Pastor Sharon Taylor