Raymond Bell is the pastor of St. Jude’s By the Sea Lutheran Church just outside of Newport, NC. Fairly early in the outbreak, Pastor Ray opened his church to members of his congregation and local residents who couldn’t travel to the Rescue Station at Camp LeJeune. Eventually, the military and Red Cross set up a temporary way station on the evacuation route to the rescue station. Most of his congregation and neighbors were evacuated when the military and Red Cross pulled out of the area.
Pastor Ray is still operating St. Jude’s as an informal way station along the evacuation route, offering respite to all travelers. The irony of his church’s patron saint is not lost on Pastor Ray.