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.
UCC Disaster Ministries is extending the deadline for congregations assembling CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets to apply for Matching Grants up to $250 each. Churches now have until December 31, 2019, to stretch their own cash and in-kind contributions to stocking up these supplies so in demand following hurricanes, flooding and other disasters.
UCC Michigan Conference Disaster Coordinators Harold and Marcia Beer are steering clear of fossil fuels on their way to the United Church of Christ General Synod in Milwaukee, Wis., June 21-25. They're going by sailboat from Muskegon, Mich. Members of Edgewood United Church UCC in East Lansing, they will sail their 27-foot sloop across Lake Michigan.
UCC Disaster Ministries has sent an additional $50,000 for construction materials for its Hurricane Harvey recovery work site in Port Arthur, Texas, where it has been partnering with a local nonprofit to rehabilitate 17 low-income rental units that were flooded in the August 2017 disaster.
UCC Disaster Ministries just released another $100,000 to rebuild Hurricane Maria-battered homes in Puerto Rico. UCC's total aid to date tops $600,000. The UCC and the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico are collaborating on a multifaceted response. Among other things, they recruit volunteer work teams, which have restored 75 homes so far! Many more houses are on the waiting list - schedule your work team! There are openings into 2020.
The frequency and intensity of natural disasters are increasing, affecting nearly every church and community in our country. At 1:30 p.m. June 22 during UCC General Synod in Milwaukee, WI, UCC Disaster Ministries and The Insurance Board will offer a one-hour workshop on disaster preparedness, "What to Do When Disaster Strikes: Protecting your Church, Serving your Community."
Ohio and Kansas UCC churches are reaching out to help their communities following tornadoes and other powerful storms.
Volunteers are being recruited now to help repair and rebuild homes in the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage when it made landfall there as a Category 4 storm in October 2018. UCC Disaster Ministries also recently deployed Betzi Yungclas, an experienced Partners in Service volunteer, to the Holmes County Long-Term Recovery Group, and is funding a full-time construction manager, Benji Benzschawel, to the North Florida LTRG, serving Jackson and Calhoun counties.
The 2019 Tropical Cyclones and Typhoons season is starting with force, battering Mozambique and neighboring countries, then India and Bangladesh. Click here for information and UCC Disaster Ministries' response, including a special appeal.