Third Time May Not Always be the Charm When a Fourth One is on its Way

Meet the Disaster Relief Team from St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Fridley, MN.
Photo taken during their third trip toGalveston County to help rebuild houses after Harvey.
The group will return to our area for a fourth visit in October.


Who said that Texas was too far for volunteers from Fridley, MN to travel?  Making three trips to Harvey-hit areas is still not sufficient for a group of disaster recovery volunteers from St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Fridley, MN. They will be returning in October, for their fourth, week-long visit, to continue assisting with rebuilding homes post-Harvey. 

In April, the team whose average age is nearly 70 years old, welcomed members from St. Christopher in League City, along with our own diocesan Hurricane Recovery team to work alongside them. Up close, we saw firsthand how ordinary volunteers could generate extraordinary results. What we witnessed was nothing short of amazing.

Greg Oliver, a St. Christopher parishioner (included in photo), volunteered with St. Philip’s Disaster Relief (SPDR) team the entire week to learn for himself how one church can be so committed and impactful.

A rocket scientist by trade, Oliver reflected, “I felt as much a contributor to the solution as the rest of them, even though I’ve never done these tasks. We don’t have to be experts.”

The SPDR started in their congregation over 15 years ago. This trip was their 75th week-long trip to serve in a disaster area. Most of their excursions have been out-of state, hundreds of miles away from Fridley, MN. Though the majority of them have gone on these trips over a dozen times, many are newcomers or second-timersyet all are welcome to pay it forward. Some bring skills, while most learn on the job.

With a roster of volunteers that fills up fast, the SPDR team loves to serve, but most importantly, they love people and they love God! They work hard and are honest about their mistakes and limitations. They leave hope and wholeness everywhere they go. What’s fun about the group is that they laugh a lot, making their team even more cohesive as they go about God’s work in serving others.

If you enjoy laughing and learning while serving the Lord, join us in the diocesan Harvey Recovery field – no matter your age. Expertise is not a requirement!

Greg Oliver offered the following benediction: “May God bless the incredible St. Philip’s team for traveling so far and so graciously offering their time, skill, and heart to help our community!”

The third time may not always be the charm when a fourth one is on its way!

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, through its partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, is reaching out to assist families for whom conventional disaster recovery mechanisms fall short. Learn more by contacting the Hurricane Recovery team at

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