Wild fires burning the Western part of the United States
June 28, 2012
More than 220 wild fires are burning across the Western part of the United States. In the UCC Rocky Mountain Conference 14 fires are burning in Colorado; and 2 in Utah. Thousands of people have been evacuated and hundreds of homes have burned.
Information has been received from the Rocky Mountain Conference Minister, Tom Rehling, that all UCC churches within the fire impacted areas have had no damage to their facilities. Several members of UCC churches have lost their homes, and are staying with family and friends. Tom has asked for prayers for all people touched by this disaster and for all who are serving the communities in need. Grants to five UCC churches to assist members with some immediate needs are being sent from One Great Hour of Sharing.
Numbers of people do not yet know if their home has been damaged or destroyed by the fires. Voluntary and mandatory evacuations are in place for a number of communities including Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs,Manitou Springs and Woodland Park; Boulder is on the edge of a line of fire that should soon be under control.
The fires burning in Utah currently are not in areas where there are UCC churches and members.
Contact has been made with the UCC Montana N. Wyoming Conference. As information becomes available about the Montana fires, it will be posted on the UCC web page and on OGHS Facebook page.
Jim Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries, in response to the wildfires offered a prayer for all who have been impacted and for those that respond.
God of all creation, on the day of Pentecost your spirit rested upon those gathered in the upper room as tongues of fire. Today, flames in western states destroy hundreds of homes and displace thousands of people. We stand in awe of mysteries we cannot understand.
We are filled with concern and compassion for the victims who have lost their homes, their businesses, their neighborhoods, their sense of security. May fear give way to faith, and may the hope of a new future rise up from the ashes. In the midst of suffering, we see your love at work in our brothers and sisters who serve those in need. We give thanks for the responders: who courageously confront the flames, who provide hospitality to those forced to flee from their homes, who bind up the wounds of the injured, who bear life-affirming spiritual and emotional care. Give them strength. Arouse us that we may not only look to others in time of crisis, but also to ourselves. You the still-speaking God call us to action. Grant us grace to stand with the survivors who will be rebuilding their homes and lives long after the devastation is no longer headline news. By offering in service the various kinds of gifts you have entrusted us with, help us to make your hope real in the midst of suffering and loss. May tongues of fire burn anew in our hearts and fill us with passion to be agents of your tender mercy and irrepressible justice. We ask these things in the name of Jesus who is the Christ, Amen.
1. Pray for the people and communities impacted by wild fires and those serving as first responder emergency personnel.
2. Make a gift payable to your congregation marked for Emergency USA fund, with the request they be sent through your Conference Office on to United Church of Christ, Financial Services, 700 Prospect Avenue E, Cleveland, OH 44115
3. Send gifts, payable to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion Emergency USA fund, then mail to United Church of Christ, Financial Services, 700 Prospect Avenue E, Cleveland, OH 44115.