Arlington Woods, a suburban neighborhood located in the south end of Ottawa, is known for its beautiful, high soaring trees. On September 21st, this community was hit with a tornado that forever changed its landscape. The tornado, classified as an EF-2 with wind speeds of up 220 km/h, downed trees, blew out windows, ripped off roofs, and left thousands without electricity.
Arlington Woods Free Methodist Church was seriously damaged by the tornado. One third of the fellowship hall roof destroyed, several windows were blown out, areas of the parsonage were destroyed, and many trees were uprooted. The houses in the neighborhood suffered a similar fate. Hundreds of trees that were uprooted or sheared in half litter every part of the community. The clean up will be lengthy and difficult.
Arlington Woods FMC wants to be a light in their community and a helping hand to their neighbors. It looked like life at the church would be put on pause due to the tornado, but on Sunday, September 23rd through the aid of social media, a short prayer service was held outside before participants went out into the community to help with the clean up.
Three weeks after the tornado, Pastor Mike Hogeboom shares, “We can rebuild the buildings but through this whole process, it’s really about making a difference in the community. To know Christ and to make his love known.”
Although this time has been difficult for the people of Arlington Woods, it has also brought them together, bound by the sorrow of grief and the expectation of healing. In the next few months, Arlington Wood FMC will be hosting a variety of different events, merging the gap between the church and community to allow healing to come to both the neighborhood and hearts of those affected by the tornado.
For anyone in the Arlington Woods area who is interested in getting more involved with clean up or for anyone looking for more information regarding upcoming events, please visit the church website at arlingtonwoods.ca or email them at [email protected]
By Jessica Funk