This Thursday, a congregation of Florida Christians gathered at the Jacksonville Beach pier to face down the incoming Hurricane Dorian. These people weren’t there to seek any thrills, they were there to battle back the storm with the power of prayer, News4JAX reports.
“We’re coming out here as group of believers like we did 2 years ago for Hurricane Irma,” Mary Paker told the local news channel. “We came and got in a circle and prayed and we sang.”
The group also gathered back in 2017 as Hurricane Irma barreled down on southeast Florida to utilize their religious faith in a last-ditch effort to beat back the storm, gathering in the same spot as this Thursday,
“We’re gonna put this storm to sea — no fear,” one person at the pier said told News4JAX at the time.
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As the Friendly Atheist‘s Hemant Mehta points out, the group’s efforts didn’t work out so well last time. According to cost estimates in the wake of Hurricane Irma, the city of Jacksonville took around $85 million in damage.
Pictures shared by News4JAX show that the prayer vigil’s turnout wasn’t as strong as it was in 2017, but nevertheless, congregation member Mary Parker says she feels the group had an effect.
“We felt like we [made] a difference,” Parker said. “We were overcome by social media response and what others do in their own town and beaches.”
Meteorologists are expecting Dorian to be a major storm when it hits Florida this Monday, although it’s not entirely known where exactly the storm will strike.