|Church ministers to tornado victim’s family|
A UMNS Report by Tita Parham*
Feb. 5, 2007
The family of Carl Gordon had been preparing for his wedding; now they are planning for his funeral.
Gordon, 20, was engaged to marry Alisi Miller on April 14. The couple
had met Feb. 1 with his pastor, the Rev. James Holden of Christ
United Methodist Church in Leesburg, Fla., for premarital counseling.
The Rev. James Holden leads a
service at Christ United Methodist Church in Leesburg, Fla. A UMNS
Web-only photo courtesy of e-Review Florida.
But shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, Gordon was killed when a
tornado ripped through his Lady Lake neighborhood, where he recently had
rented a mobile home. The storm system killed 20 people and damaged
thousands of homes in central Florida.
Gordon's fiancé and a neighbor began searching for him after he did
not arrive for work on the day of the storms. They found his body and
the heavily damaged mobile home, which the storm had picked up and
Holden said Gordon had been in good spirits in his last meeting with
the couple. "There was lots of laughter and excitement that last night,"
Holden said. "Who would have thought five hours later he would be dead.
… This is a big struggle for them. It's just devastating all around."
Gordon was the third of seven siblings, ages 23, 21, 20, 18, 16, 9
and 6. His father, an electrician, is raising the four youngest
Holden said a big part of the church's outreach has been ministering
to the family, who live down the street from the church parsonage in the
neighborhood behind the church.
The pastor described Gordon's father, Scott Gordon, as a
dedicated worker and the family as living close to the poverty line. He
said the church had helped in a variety of ways beyond encouraging them
to participate in church activities. Among them: keeping the cars
running and the telephone connected.
Holden had met regularly with Gordon, his dad and his siblings
because they were committed to drawing closer as a family and said they
had made much progress.
They "had really gotten to a great place," the pastor said.
Funeral services are scheduled for Feb. 8 in Leesburg.
*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
United Methodists respond to Florida tornadoes
Survivors start patching lives together
Tornado survivors rejoice at service
Fla. Storm recovery center
Florida Annual Conference
Orlando Sentinel storm blog