A Moment for Mission
"For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings, I sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." —Psalm 63:7-8, NRSV
When disaster occurs—whether a hurricane, tornado, wildfire or other natural or human-made calamity—the United Methodist Committee on Relief is there to help people recover and put their lives back together.
In 2018, Hurricane Florence caused catastrophic flooding in South Carolina and North Carolina. A month later, Hurricane Michael hit Florida before raging through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Cathy Earl, director of disaster response and U.S. partner relations for UMCOR, said The United Methodist Church's response to disasters begins before the events occur. "We were in touch with the conference disaster response coordinators, who are our primary contacts in disaster readiness and response," Earl said. "They have already been trained and supported, and they know where their assets are around the conference."
"We like to say that we are UMCOR," added Matt Brodie, disaster response coordinator for the South Carolina Annual Conference. "When a local church responds to a disaster, they are UMCOR's boots on the ground."
"We have to be … ready and able to respond to needs quickly," Earl noted, "not just from a physical standpoint—tarping or rebuilding homes—but [also] from a spiritual standpoint: being present with those who are impacted and struggling, and leading them, not just through the recovery process. That's an important piece only the church can provide."
Thanks to United Methodist generosity on UMCOR Sunday, people facing some of the worst crises of their lives find help and hope.
Loving God, thank-you for caring for us, especially when we feel defeated. Strengthen us to uphold our suffering sisters and brothers, enfolding them in love. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Third Sunday in Lent — God of love and forgiveness, we offer our gifts this morning, knowing that we resemble those to whom Isaiah prophesied, "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?" We have chased after things that we thought would bring joy, and then found them to be empty and unfulfilling. Lord, we long to return to you and invest ourselves in things that last and that bring lasting joy, as we seek you in every moment, with all we have and all we are. We pray this in Christ's holy name. Amen. (Isaiah 55:1-9)
Whenever and wherever disaster strikes, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is ready. As the church's humanitarian relief and development arm, UMCOR works with annual conferences, training volunteers from local congregations to be disaster responders, and provides grants for direct support, goods or services to survivors.
UMCOR counts on United Methodist financial support through Advance designated gifts and through a special offering on UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) during the fourth Sunday in Lent
"Because of the trust that the people of The United Methodist Church have in us, we are positioned to help address needs, both large and small," said Cathy Earl, UMCOR director of disaster response and U.S. partner relations. "UMCOR partners with annual conferences (in disaster areas), and they stretch those dollars to the breaking point. They do all they can to make every dollar turn into two, three, four."
Your gifts on UMCOR Sunday show your faith, share Christ's love and make a huge difference. Thank you!
—Adapted from "UMCOR Hurricane Response Points to the Power of Local Partnership" by Tom Gillem