UCC Disaster Ministries has just released another $54,000 to the Philippines for ecumenical programs of recovery from the devastation and economic dislocation of last September's Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut). “The Philippines is one of the most disaster prone nations in the world,” said UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth. “Fortunately, we have strong partners in the region and are able to ensure that support is targeted and utilized to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.”
Two Summer Communities of Service interns whose assignment was disaster recovery cited unexpected learnings, such as how "having a stable home is the foundation for everything else," said Hannah G., one of the interns. She added, "The dirt, mud and paint stains on your clothes … if you have to throw away your sneakers as I will have to … it's worth it!"
Ryder Memorial Hospital in Humacao, Puerto Rico, continues striving to repair the extensive damage from Hurricane Maria. UCC Disaster Ministries has approved a two-year start-up grant of $50,000 for the hospital to create a formal development office. It will help with ongoing recovery by creating fundraising strategies and collaborations for hurricane recovery and long-term sustainability.
Disaster long-term recovery includes rebuilding both homes and hearts. United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries and the UCC Southern Conference (SOC) in July presented four 1.5-day disaster trauma retreats for clergy in Raleigh, Wilmington, Elizabeth City and New Bern, N.C., all areas impacted by Hurricane Florence in 2018. Chaplain and Pastor the Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs Jacobs from Chappaqua, N.Y., helped participants understand their reaction to disasters and trauma and how they can help their congregations and communities. Click to read the SOC e-news story.
What can your mission team expect when it volunteers to help restore housing for Hurricane Harvey survivors in Beaumont, Texas? “Fellowship, warmth, hospitality and a whole lot of sweaty work,” says the Rev. Joshua Lawrence, the UCC’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Co-Coordinator. Sixteen homes in Port Arthur have been restored. “Half a dozen of the houses in Beaumont are ready for work teams,” Lawrence said. “The only thing missing is the work teams!”
In January-June 2019, UCC Disaster Ministries funded disaster recovery work that touched survivors of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, cyclones, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions across the United States and around the world. Total disbursements exceeded $500,000! Here is a tally.
In Puerto Rico's long recovery from Hurricane Maria, a congregation serving homeless people, undocumented immigrants, young mothers and elderly folks may soon become a center of outreach to an entire section of the island, with help, in part, from United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries.
The damage inflicted by severe flooding and tornadoes across the United States this spring can be quantified in billions of dollars. It also can be described by the ache in one mom's heart to get her four daughters back into the only home they've ever known.
Is your church prepared to withstand a natural disaster and to help your congregation and community in the aftermath? Being ready just got easier, thanks to the new "A Disaster Preparedness Manual for Churches" from UCC Disaster Ministries and the Insurance Board. Tailored for use by houses of worship of any denomination or faith, the easy-to-use 24-page manual is a guide to preparing your building and congregation and to serving your community when disaster occurs.
More than three dozen major disasters have been declared across the United States so far in 2019. The U.S. has seen severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides and mudslides, tornadoes and wildfires. UCC Disaster Ministries is working to support local UCC congregations, associations and conferences, along with long-term recovery groups, in their initial response, totaling $38,000 to date.