Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Over the past few weeks, we have watched the destructive forces of two hurricanes, A forest fire, and an earthquake. We have witnessed horrific acts wrought by nature and by apparent human carelessness. These acts and others have compelled us to pray and seek mercy on behalf of millions that have been effected.
There are many folks in the IGRC whose hearts hurt for all those that are suffering. Many are wondering how they can help. I am writing to simply remind us that now is the time to exercise prayer and patience. This is NOT the time for sending any donated items. Please only do what is asked!
In our determination to exercise generosity let us also utilize wisdom and discernment in our giving. It is okay for churches to collect an offering for UMCOR and to continue the collection of those things that our Disaster Relief Committee requests (like flood buckets).
There are a number of Advance Specials -- both at the General church and Conference levels to guide your giving:
- Advance Special #901670 -- U.S. Disaster Response. This is the UMCOR number that is being used for offerings to assist in disaster relief efforts in the United States and U.S. territories. Donate online...
- Advance Special #982450 -- International Disaster Response. This is the UMCOR number that is being used for areas outside the United States. Donate online...
- Conference Advance Special #6620 -- Midwest Mission Distribution Center. MMDC has been in forefront of assembling and transporting flood buckets and other items from the conference and the North Central Jurisdiction to the affected areas. Donate online...
- Conference Advance Special #6800 -- IGRC Disaster Response. Funds from this Advance purchased and shipped nearly 1,500 plastic totes to Texas following its hurricane, allowing families to begin rebuilding their lives. Funds given to this Advance also undergirds our conference's disaster response whether inside the IGRC or beyond its borders. Donate online...
It is okay to begin the process of identifying folks interested in serving on future work teams but please know that these devastated areas are not ready to receive any teams now. Most areas are still undergoing evaluation and assessment of needs. There will be many opportunities to do "hands on" ministry in the months to come.
The IGRC has a great record of generosity and service in response to needs brought on through crisis. I have no doubt that we will respond to the current challenges facing our brothers and sisters. You are a wonderful witness of the powerful connection that is the United Methodist Church. Thank you for modeling what it means to be a "connectional church" family.
Thank you for your spirit of compassion, caring and concern. Please keep the prayers flowing.