United Church of Christ

Scott Smiley reflects on volunteering on a disaster recovery work team

“'If you are more fortunate than others, it is better that you should build a longer table, than a taller fence.' To me, the simplicity and eloquence of this apparently anonymous quote sums up my experience serving in Florida with UCC Disaster Ministries on a hurricane recovery volunteer work team." - Commentary by Scott Smiley

Volunteers show solidarity as they help Puerto Rico rebuild

A hug of transformation and solidarity. That’s how the Rev. Edward Rivera Santiago, General Pastor of the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico (IEUPR), describes an ecumenical collaboration to repair as many homes as possible that were damaged by Hurricane Maria last September. UCC Disaster Ministries is recruiting groups of volunteers to repair roofs, do light carpentry and paint interior ceilings and walls, and has contributed more than $250,000 to the recovery effort to date.

Hurricane survivor to work team: You guys need to be CLONED!

Marlene was among homeowners affected when Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017 devastated Volusia County on Florida’s east coast, destroying dozens of homes and leaving thousands in disrepair. Her recovery came April 8-14 at the hands of a 12-member mission team from Evangelical Reformed UCC in Frederick, Md., Christ Reformed UCC in Middletown, Md., and St. Paul’s UCC in Fleetwood, Pa.

USVI still reeling from fall 2017 hurricanes

The U.S. Virgin Islands suffered catastrophic damage after back-to-back blows from Hurricanes Irma and Maria last fall, comparable to that in Puerto Rico. But the territory’s great need for recovery help has received little media attention. A strong effort to bring tourism back to the islands has led to the impression that recovery in USVI is complete, but in reality, much of the general population is still reeling from the effects of the storms.

In Port Arthur, volunteers' work day starts with a song

Imagine a disaster recovery work site where the construction supervisor sings to volunteers at the start of their workday, before confirming their assignments and accompanying them through the day. That’s what volunteers are finding in Port Arthur, Texas, where UCC Disaster Ministries and partner South East Texas Community Development Corporation (SET CDC) are restoring 17 low-income rental units that Hurricane Harvey flooded with two feet of water last August.

Lavinia's story: Fears, struggles in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria

Like nothing she'd ever seen before. That's how Lavinia, 81, describes last September's Hurricane Maria and the storm's devastation in Puerto Rico. This spring, volunteers repaired Lavinia’s roof using materials purchased by donations to UCC Disaster Ministries. Read Lavinia's story and consider how you can help.


"Balm" for survivors of volcanic eruptions in Guatemala

Call it "Balm in Gilead," if you will, for survivors of the deadly Fuego volcano eruptions in Guatemala – people who have fled the volcano’s rain of sand, rock, ash and 600-degree gases and taken refuge in church-assisted and other unofficial shelters. UCC Disaster Ministries is helping meet survivors' needs for both material and emotional "balm."

When disaster recovery help is needed, "Why not go now?" Wisconsin church asks

"Why not go now?" That’s what members of Grace Congregational United Church of Christ in Two Rivers, Wis., say when disaster strikes and there’s a need for hands-on recovery help. Their "go now" spirit has infused 22 mission trips, the most recent in March to UCC Disaster Ministries’ long-term recovery work site in Port Arthur, Texas.

Apply Today! UCC Matching Grants for CWS Kits

UCC churches assembling CWS Kits are invited to stretch their resources by applying for $250 matching grants from UCC Disaster Ministries. In 2018 - the fourth year the denomination is offering the matching grants - up to 75 matching grants will be awarded. To qualify, congregations must show that they have raised at least $250 in cash and in kind for kits. Grants are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

UCC Disaster Ministries helps fund Ebola treatment, prevention in DRC

(Update of our earlier story.) UCC Disaster Ministries is responding to help contain a serious outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).