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As Flood Recovery Starts In Houston, Many Go Back To Church


Today is Sunday, and for millions of people, that means church. In Texas last week, though, hundreds of congregations had to cancel services because of Hurricane Harvey. Today, though, many were able to reopen. NPR's Adrian Florido visited one such church in Houston that opened its doors.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: As Harvey moved into Houston last week, Pastor D.Z. Cofield was keeping his eye on the deluge. At some point, he realized he'd have to cancel last Sunday's services.

D.Z. COFIELD: Then it became clear that this next week would be the first time we would get together and what could be said and what would be said.

FLORIDO: I went to visit Cofield at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, where he's senior pastor, last night. He was still working out what he would say. It's what pastors and priests and rabbis and imams have been thinking about a lot across the Gulf region this week. Cofield knew his message would be important on Sunday, but not the most important thing.

COFIELD: It's going to be the love that people will experience as they reconnect because there are people who are still finding out the status of friends and finding family members still.

FLORIDO: Still, as he crafted his sermon, Cofield said he was conscious that some of his members might be struggling with their faith right now.

COFIELD: Typically, we put our faith in ourselves and we put our faith in each other. But when you face a situation like this that's out of your control, now you have to find another source for your faith.


COFIELD: How many of y'all were ready to come to church today? I know that's right. We got tired of looking at the same house and the same people. He's like, I got to go somewhere around the corner or something. I got to get up out of here. I want the water to go and some of our relatives. I already know. Some of y'all not laughing because you're sitting next to them, but that's all right. God knows your heart (laughter).

FLORIDO: Cofield ended up building his sermon around the biblical story of Job, a rich man who Satan tries to turn against God by destroying all of his earthly possessions. But Job, rather than blame God...

COFIELD: He fell to the ground to worship. Worship becomes the point of sanity when you're going through insanity. The worship of God becomes the anchor in the midst of your stormy sea.

FLORIDO: As she left church, Guy Green said it had been just what she needed to hear.

GUY GREEN: I'm going through a physical storm right now. God is battling cancer for me, and he's already won.

FLORIDO: She said God saw her through Tropical Storm Harvey, too. The water came up to the house, but it didn't come inside. Iva Ward said God protected her house, too.

IVA WARD: He's with us all the time. He's going to bring us through. So it's a confirmation for me.

FLORIDO: Adrian Florido, NPR News, Houston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Adrian Florido
Adrian Florido is a national correspondent for NPR covering race and identity in America.