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Brothers and Sisters, What Shall We Do?

In the second chapter of Acts, after the Pentecost event, Peter addressed the crowd with one of the best sermons in the history of Christianity, leading over three thousand people to be baptized. According to scripture, they asked a simple question: “Brothers and sisters, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

I wish I had a sermon that could evoke such a response, but the question is one we ask all the time. Now that we know the reality of the situation, what shall we do? After all the violence and natural disasters we have seen in recent weeks, what is the best way to respond?

The United Methodist Church has published a good article about responding to the jarring violence that rocked Las Vegas, Nevada. You can find it at www.umc.org. On the home page, click on “You did it for me: Serving others in times of tragedy.” Currently, the Red Cross is the primary agency for helping in that tragedy. Amazingly, they are not asking for any more blood donations for Las Vegas after the response they have already gotten. In days to come, we can expect there will be programs to help adults and children deal with the grief of loss and the post-traumatic stress in its aftermath.

As for hurricane relief, there are teams now forming to go into Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. We can expect teams to go into Puerto Rico soon. The best way to be prepared to help on the site is to be certified through the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM). For more information visit www.umvim.org.

Money is always helpful. All of our existing structures for responding to emergencies can use money for immediate purchases. In the United Methodist Church, we have special offerings, called Advances, which you can use to direct your giving however you like. Simply write a check to Shalimar UMC, and on the memo line, list the Advance by number:

-  UMCOR—Put UMCOR in the memo line if you want to support domestic disaster relief and the general budget of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
- Advance 901670—US Disaster response. This includes hurricane relief in Texas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands.
- Advance 982450—International Disaster Response. This includes other non-US entities in the Caribbean.
- Advance 901440—Relief Supplies. This money is used to bring flood buckets, health kits, and other supplies to stricken areas.
- Cuba Hurricane Relief—UMCOR is currently working on a long term plan to help in Cuba, but mechanisms for cash flow are not worked out yet. Meanwhile, our Cuba mission team is partnering with other Methodist churches to bring money into Cuba as they bring their teams in. This money is given directly to the Methodist bishop in Cuba. He is working on immediate relief as well as long term plans with UMCOR. Simply put “Cuba Hurricane Relief” in the memo line.

God bless you all for your hearts of compassion. There is no better time than today to be the hearts and hands of Jesus.
Pastor Brian

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