Hundreds in coastal towns of Sumatra and Java were killed by a tsunami the weekend before Christmas 2018. It was just September 2018 when a powerful earthquake and tsunami killed several thousand people in Central Sulawesi. UCC Disaster Ministries contributed an initial $23,000 for emergency needs following the September disaster and has authorized $15,000 more to train an entire village in disaster resiliency.
Bill (William) and Ellen Matten of Boalsburg, Pa., long-time Disaster Coordinators for the UCC's Penn Central Conference, enthusiastically live their faith. Not only do they generously share their time and talents, they share what they learn and experience after participating in group mission trips with their local church and with the UCC Humanitarian and Development Ministries.
Millie Oliphant of Vernon, Conn., recently translated her passion for line dancing into a fundraiser for United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries. Her eight-week class helped participants chase away the “dead-of-winter” blues and raised $600 for the greater good in the process.
Christians are called to be fearless relationship builders, writes United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth in a UCC "Witness for Justice" commentary. And the Church offers many opportunities to build relationships, which dispel fear of "the other." For example, Wolgemuth said, "when individuals serve at one of our (disaster) recovery sites, they often find themselves serving in marginalized communities where they are able to build relationships with those impacted by greed and prejudice."
Due to several years of back-to-back hurricanes, Church World Service’s inventory of Emergency Cleanup Buckets and other Kits is at an all-time low in CWS warehouses. United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is stepping up to help by offering $250 matching grants to qualifying UCC congregations assembling these life-giving supplies. In 2018, 51 congregations received grants.
Six weeks of rain caused repeated flooding last summer in Schuylkill County, Pa. Some areas had severe damage to homes, including loss of furnaces and water heaters. A UCC Disaster Ministries grant of $10,000 is ensuring that affected families have heat and hot water through the winter. The funds are being allocated through the UCC's Pennsylvania Southeast Conference and its Schuylkill Association, which have stepped up to support the flood recovery effort.
UCC Disaster Ministries' cash and volunteer support totaled some $2 million in 2018 for disaster recovery in 26 countries and more than 16 U.S. states and territories, not counting funds and goods we helped secure for survivors from other sources.
Through the UCC’s Southern Conference, United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries has hired Ken Skalitzky to the new position of Disaster Recovery Specialist for the Eastern Region, covering the 24 states in FEMA Regions 1-4. He will work closely with UCC Conference leadership and National Disaster Ministries’ staff to engage churches and conferences in recovery efforts and to support the work of UCC Disaster Ministries in long-term recovery.
Introducing an attractive new summary of UCC Disaster Ministries' support for the long-term recovery of disaster survivors across the United States and around the world in 2018. In just a few pages, you'll find facts and figures, project specifics, volunteer and client stories, photos and "what's next" for each location.
UCC Disaster Ministries has granted $10,000 to two UCC conferences in Pennsylvania for continuation of a pioneering program of outreach to Puerto Ricans who have fled, and who continue to flee, Hurricane Maria's destruction and ongoing disruption of life on their U.S. island territory. Thousands of Puerto Ricans have sought shelter in Pennsylvania since the hurricane.