United Church of Christ

Western Wildfires Keep People on High Alert

Massive wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Washington have created havoc for many UCC members, churches and their communities. At least 17 homes have been lost to the fires in Oregon. Many other people have been evacuated in all three states, and everyone is on high alert.

Being community together: UCC steps up after Iowa derecho

Three United Church of Christ congregations were in the high-impact area August 10 when a hurricane-strength "derecho" swept across Central Iowa. Even as they dealt with the derecho’s damage to their churches and homes, pastors and members stepped up to help their communities. And as word spread through social media of the destruction, the broader UCC (local, conference and national) stepped up to help.

Ministering in destruction's wake: an Iowa pastor's story

On August 10, 2020, Central Iowa suffered a powerful "derecho," with winds clocked up to 140 miles per hour. As soon as this veritable hurricane on land had passed, UCC pastor the Rev. Kate West in Belle Plaine was out to survey the damage and check on her members. The next day, she was at the center of the relief operation, organizing sack lunches and other supplies.

September is Disaster Preparedness Month

For many, a large hurricane like Laura, marks the height of the disaster season. But September only marks the half-way point to the end of hurricane season on November 30. In recent history we have seen many examples of major hurricanes following each other: Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, and more recently Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We must not let our guard down. In fact there are currently four storm systems in the Atlantic.

2020 Hurricanes - UCC Disaster Ministries Responds

2020 is acting according to predictions that it would be a particularly heavy hurricane season. The latest hurricane to make landfall is Laura, which made landfall during the night of August 26 as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds. At least three deaths are confirmed, and hundreds of thousands of households are without power. 

UCC rallies support for derecho response in Iowa

The derecho that hit central Iowa unexpectedly with damaging winds on August 10 was similar to a Category 2 hurricane. Winds clocked as high as 140 mph cut a 50- to 100-mile swath from Des Moines to the state's east. More than 90 percent of buildings in Cedar Rapids were damaged. Four people were killed. Read how the UCC is responding at the local, conference and national levels.

CWS, UCC resuming kits ministry - carefully

Looking for hands-on ways to help people affected by COVID-19, hurricanes and other disasters? Consider assembling CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets and CWS Hygiene and other Kits – packets of essentials that make a world of difference to people in times of need. Get guidelines here for safe assembly in groups or at home, and news of CWS's reopening of "Safe Depots."

UCC sends initial contribution to recovery after Beirut explosion

UCC Disaster Ministries has begun its response to the tragic August 4 explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, with a $10,000 contribution toward a multifaceted program to meet both physical and psychosocial needs created by the blast. That funding was requested by the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, a long-time Global Ministries partner, to help provide food, rent and other essentials to 200 families made homeless in this disaster. The ministry also belongs to the ecumenical ACT Alliance, which is charting a major response.

Beirut Explosion Response

On August 4, 2020, an explosion at the port in Beirut, Lebanon, sent shockwaves across the city, shattering windows as far as 25 km (15 miles) away from the blast site. This tragedy occurs amid political and social tension, the COVID-19 pandemic and Lebanon's worst economic crisis in a century. These crises in Lebanon have left the country under-resourced and less able to respond to other major disasters. Assessments are still underway and the UCC stands ready to assist. Your prayers and contributions are welcome!

UCC Disaster Ministries supports COVID response in India, Bangladesh

UCC Wider Church Ministries is helping vulnerable families in Southern Asia cope with COVID-19, including day laborers idled by the pandemic-related shutdown, farmers and fishers unable to market their produce, disabled persons, ethnic minorities, widows and the elderly in Bangladesh and daily wage earners locked down at home and returned migrants in India.

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