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Randy Crowe leads Puerto Rican Mission Pilgrimage

Mary Olney-Loyd and Rick Russell, co-chairs of the Global Ministries Committee—a partnership between the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ Northwest Region—contacted Randy Crowe asking him to head up lead a Puerto Rican Mission Pilgrimage from March 31 to April 6.

Randy Crowe valued work camps in New Orleans.

Volunteer workers are invited to participate in this disaster response mission pilgrimage to Puerto Rico.

The volunteers will serve as pilgrims, ambassadors and friends, while working to restore homes affected by Hurricanes Maria, which hit a 50-mile swath across Puerto Rico in September 2017, followed by the eye of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, passing north of the island two weeks later.

The work will be in partnership with Iglesia Cristiana (Discipulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico (ICDCPR).

The partnership with ICDCPR will help the people of Puerto Rico recover, while strengthening their networks and preparing people for the next disaster.

Mission pilgrimage volunteers will work on hurricane affected homes. Exterior and interior work can include everything from roofing and installing windows and doors to framing, finishing work, flooring and painting.

Repair and rebuild work are important parts of this pilgrimage, but being a skilled laborer is not a requirement, said Randy.

“Absolutely essential are open hearts, willing hands, and allowing God to work in and through you and others,” he said. “Also essential is a commitment to building relationships and to learning about life and the church in Puerto Rico.”

Volunteers will be based at Campamonto Morton, a church camp operated by ICDCPR. Long-term recovery work will focus in the municipalities of Toa Baja and Bayamon on the northern part of Puerto Rico, Humacao on the east, and Ciales in the middle of the island.

Participants are responsible for air travel to and from the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Volunteers will also pay $315 to cover transportation, meals and lodging while at Campamonto Morton. The Puerto Rican Mission Pilgrimage is limited to 25 volunteers.

Randy, who was managing director of the PNC’s camp and conference center at N-Sid-Sen for 22 years until he retired in 2012, led six PNC teams from 2006 to 2010 to help with rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.  Damage was from storm surges and levies breaking and flooding homes.

In contrast, the damage in Puerto Rico is mostly from wind ripping off roofs and “horrific rains,” said Randy.

“Those who went felt they gained more than they put in, including gains in understanding faith and service,” Randy said.  “We listened to people’s stories, which was often more important than the work we did.”

Missing that experience, he said he welcomes the opportunity to return to do this type of service and ministry.

He appreciates a difference, in that this effort is called a “mission pilgrimage.”

Without much publicity, he already has nine of the 25 interested.

“In Puerto Rico, we will do more work on reconstructing homes, while previously, much of what we did was tearing structures to the frames,” he said.  “There have already been many teams who have gone there.

“Like in New Orleans, I expect we will be rebuilding beside the people who live in the homes,” he said.

Randy remembers in New Orleans that many of the people were still in shock and experiencing trauma about their loss.  That’s why he believes that listening to people and hearing their stories will be important.

To register, go to  For further information, contact Randy Crowe at 509-232-9589 or


Copyright © January-March 2019 Pacific NW United Church News


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