Written by Florence A. Coppola
Hope from the Rubble is the name of the special appeal the UCC has established to receive funds designated to respond to the tragic events of last week.
All monies received for this appeal will be designated for response to the events of Sept. 11 to assist families of victims and survivors. There are no administrative fees attached—all the dollars received will be used for response.
So far we are working in the following five areas:
The Rev. Robin Meyers, pastor of Mayflower Congregational UCC in Oklahoma City, who experienced and ministered through the Oklahoma City bombing, will meet with UCC clergy at gatherings in Baltimore, Northern New Jersey, New York City and Connecticut, to share his learnings and guide the pastors in sharing their stories with one another. (Hope from the Rubble resources will help to make these pastoral visits possible.)
Joann Hale (UCC member from Grand Island, N.Y.) is a Church World Service Disaster Resource Facilitator who has been deployed to New York City, along with several other CWS volunteers, to work with the government and voluntary agencies and local churches to coordinate the faith-based response.
The UCC is participating in the establishment of "Interfaith Committee(s) for Unmet Needs" that are being established in the affected areas. In all disasters, the church makes the commitment to stay with a community through the long haul of recovery. We are rarely the "first responders;" that's the role of municipalities and the Red Cross. The church is there to help folks put their lives back together long after the TV cameras are gone.
Calling upon our years of learning following the bombing in Oklahoma City and the requests we are receiving from our Conferences and congregations, we are focused on providing immediate and long term spiritual and emotional care and crisis counseling. We are working closely with Church World Service to deploy persons, primarily to the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., areas, who are trained and experienced counselors with certification in critical incident stress debriefing. These counselors will be available to individuals, families, congregations, etc. We anticipate that need for counseling will go on for many years.
Additional credentialed, experienced, crisis counselors will be sought throughout the country to become part of a larger network to provide immediate grief counseling and long term spiritual and emotional care in the communities in which they live. UCC persons who are qualified to be a part of this network will be entered into a databank, which will be accessed by CWS personnel as calls for assistance are received. (Hope from the Rubble resources will be used to help to train UCC persons to become a part of this network.)
'Hope from the Rubble' Financial Donations
1. Make check payable to Wider Church Ministries and send through your conference office marked "Hope from the Rubble" requesting that it be sent to Wider Church Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
2. Make check payable to Wider Church Ministries marked "Hope from the Rubble" and send it directly to Wider Church Ministries, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115.
3. Go to the September 11 page of the UCC website www.ucc.org/911 and click the button to make an electronic donation immediately (Visa, Mastercard or PayPal only).
Florence A. Coppola is Executive for National Disaster Ministries in the UCC's Wider Church Ministries.