United Church of Disaster Ministries teams are reaching out to pastors and congregations across the entire peninsula of South Florida, as all involved try to assess the damage left behind by Hurricane Irma. "Our denomination helps those nobody else is going to help. That process takes time to identify," said the Rev. Alan Coe, UCC Florida Conference disaster coordinator.
Here are resources for prayer and giving as we gather in our faith communities this weekend and seek to respond to the call to love our neighbor in the midst of multiple disasters: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with Tropical Storms Jose and Katia right behind and gathering strength; wildfires in the U.S. Northwest; floods in Northeast India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and mudslides in Sierra Leone, and even this long list is not inclusive.
“Bent and Whole” - The UCC commissions a communion set to be used for each General Synod and beyond. This past summer’s synod chalice had a bent stem looking as though it was a kiln mistake. The bent chalice stem, though, was quite intentional.... There is an underlying reality of brokenness, of body and blood poured out. ~ Reflections 9/8/17, Rev. Dr. James Moos, UCC National Officer
The UCC Disaster Ministries team is being stretched this week, effectively responding to two devastating hurricanes — the aftermath of Harvey and horrific floods on the ground in Texas and Louisiana, and the current chaos Irma is bringing, leaving unprecedented destruction and a rising death toll in the Caribbean, with a pending strike of South Florida.
Churches across Texas and beyond are rallying to get Harvey survivors what they need most right now — cash, cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, and gift cards. UCC National and Conference staff are in Houston this week to meet UCC pastors and plan for long-term recovery. UCC Disaster Ministries has ordered 200 cleanup buckets for St. Paul UCC in Corpus Christi to distribute in Port Aransas and a $2,000 solidarity grant for its food pantry.
They may be separated from the people in Texas and Louisiana who have been hit hard by Harvey by thousands of miles, but members of the wider United Church of Christ want those suffering to know that they stand with them, and will do all they can to help them recover. From New York to Kansas City and beyond, churches are collecting donations and putting together Church World Service (CWS) cleanup buckets.
The United Church of Christ has launched an emergency appeal to help with long term recovery following Hurricane Harvey - a monster storm that has already displaced thousands and continues to dump heavy rain on Texas and Louisiana. Cash is the best way to help right now. Zach Wolgemuth, executive, UCC Disaster Ministries, said, "Evacuations, search and rescue are still underway and volunteers living outside the region are being advised to not travel."
On Monday, August 14, a chunk of mountain came down under the force of rain, onto the houses that hugged the slopes of Mount Sugar Loaf about five miles outside the capital Freetown, Sierra Leone, according to government officials and aid agencies.
More than two years after the devastating 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, some remote communities are still struggling to repair critical water infrastructure for drinking and crop irrigation. To help, UCC Disaster Ministries has just released $49,818 for two such communities, Kitini Thala and Chitlang. This brings to nearly $290,000 ($289,818) the ministries' funding to date for earthquake recovery in Nepal, mostly for construction of earthquake-resistant housing but also for water systems.
Meet three of the nearly three dozen Daytona Beach-area homeowners who are waiting anxiously for volunteer work teams to help them repair damage from Hurricane Matthew last October. UCC Disaster Ministries is partnering with VIND (Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disasters) to recruit and deploy volunteer work teams to help these and other Volusia County, Fla., Hurricane Matthew survivors recover.