Dear FUMCLR Family and Friends,
Like you, we woke up on this April Fool's Day wishing yesterday had been a cruel joke. The devastation in our city is vast, and it goes beyond the destruction of property. It penetrates our souls as we process our trauma and cry with our neighbors. We must all remember that God is with us, and God's grace is sufficient.
We have been checking in with as many church members and friends as we can. Thankfully, from what we know right now, everyone is safe, and there are only a few members who have had property damage. If you have been hurt or suffered extensive property damage, please let us know. Many of you are already working hard to help your neighbors with food, shelter, and cleanup. The compassion of Christ is on full display in you.
We are partnered with the Arkansas United Methodist Conference Disaster Relief Team. They are well versed in the process of storm response and guiding this effort. Even though the impulse is to go help immediately, they wisely tell people to wait so that we stay out of the way of the authorities who are trying to remove power lines and trees, stabilize structures, restore power, and make it safe. Also, they advise not to clean up homes before insurance has had a chance to assess. In the next few days and weeks, they will be organizing clean-up teams and other response efforts. We'll let you know when we get that information. This will be a long-haul recovery, and we will be needed all along the way.
For now, there are three things needed. First of all, your financial gifts make a big impact. If you want to give a gift for tornado recovery, bring that to worship tomorrow, mail it to the church, or give online https://fumclr.org/giving/. Please make sure to identify it as "tornado relief."
There is also a need for tarps and bottled water. If you would like to donate these items, please bring them to the church. We will have collection spots around the building. (Please note--this is only a request for tarps you already have. Going to purchase tarps at this time depletes the supply needed for the greater community.)
Thank you for making the grace of God come to life in tangible ways. Clean up, recovery, and caring for our neighbors will be our work for quite a while. Stay tuned for more details soon.
Rev. David C. Freeman, Senior Pastor, and Rev. Haley Jones Wells, Pastor of Community Engagement