What a week this has been as reality continues to set in of the devastation of Hurricane Michael. Let us continue to remember in prayer our neighbors to the east. There are some members of our congregation that have also experienced losses from the storm. Let us hold in prayer all affected by Hurricane Michael.
Also, let us continue to show our love through our financial giving in this catastrophic time of need. Thank you for what you have already generously and quickly given. I am so honored to serve as your pastor in a church that is so generous in times of need!
This week I have heard of our congregation members offering love and support to our neighbors to the east of us in the recovery from Hurricane Michael. I am grateful to our members who have traveled to Panama City and served in such a time as this. We also have members who have opened their homes to evacuees seeking to find some sense of normalcy.
Our first church team is heading over to Panama City Thursday, Oct. 18 to deliver some essentials such as bottled water, gas, baby food, non-perishable food, and gift cards. I’m grateful to our lay volunteers who are traveling with me to be of help. Thank you, congregation, for your generous outpouring of supplies to those in need. We will continue to look for the best ways possible going forward in which our church of great resources and wonderful leaders can be of the best help in this devastating time for so many.
Our Annual Conference is also keeping us informed of ways to help. See below for the latest information as of this writing for our consideration as well. Please notice there is a word about training and the appeal for Stephen Ministers.
Hurricane Michael Disaster Response, October 17, 2018 (Annual Conference)
Many of you have expressed interest in how you can immediately help the survivors of Hurricane Michael. Prayer, monetary donations directly to the conference, and supplies are ways you can help now. The United Methodist Church has a history of being in storm-damaged areas for the duration and will be in partnership with the Gulf Coast for years to come.
Commercial grade tarps larger than 16 x 20, roofing nails and furring strips are in great demand. Our district collection sites are prepared to accept those items in addition to the previously announced supply list.
We are now making our first calls for in-conference trained ERT teams who can be self contained (bring your own food, water, gas and either have your own housing/lodging or enter and leave the same day). These teams are needed to clean up debris and tarp roofs. If you can serve in this way, contact Katie Winton at 205.381.2356. There are also several upcoming trainings in the coming days. Click here for information. Assessments are needed in order to apply for our another UMCOR grant.
We also need people to serve food and distribute supplies in certain areas (no ERT training required but an ERT-trained leader or participant in the group is needed). If you can serve in this way, please contact Katie Winton at 205.381.2356.
Rev. Britney Toner has published a list of items she is transporting to the Port St. Joe area. Community Life UMC in Gulf Breeze, FL, is collecting these items.
Stephen ministers will be needed to work shifts to listen and pray with those who have survived this tragedy. Contact Rev. Ashley Davis for more information and to register.
We will frequently continue to update these needs and communicate that to the conference. Thank you to everyone who is bringing hope and the love of Christ to those who need it most.