Saturday, April 16, 2011, will be a day that will linger long in our memories. Such a large number of severe storms and tornadoes moved through our conference wreaking havoc in such a short period of time! Our hearts are certainly saddened by the loss of so many lives. I am confident that our United Methodist brothers and sisters in those communities are already reaching out to those grieving family and friends.
You can be assured that our Disaster Team is already at work! At this time, we know that many, many homes have been lost. I have spoken with Tom Hazelwood of UMCOR and they have released an emergency grant to assist us as we move into action with our initial response.
You may report any information you have regarding needs to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may check updates on our website. The MERCI Center will coordinate all requests for assistance as well as requests from volunteer teams to come and assist.
Our Disaster Relief Coordinator, Bud Budzinski, will meet tomorrow with all district coordinators. In the meantime, Steve Taylor, Conference Outreach Ministry Team coordinator, is working with Bud and other leaders to set into action several plans that are already underway.
Every single district, save the Burlington District, has pockets of great damage. We are thankful that we have no reports of any damage to our church buildings. Within our clergy families, we are only aware of two residences that have been damaged. Reverend and Mrs. Dennis Lamb’s (Hoke Charge, FA) home sustained great damage. Reverend Pam Watkins’ (Oak Grove, DU) parsonage sustained minor damage.
I know you have already been praying much as well as reaching out to those near you. May our hearts now lead our hands and our feet to action!
Blessed Holy Week,
Bishop Al Gwinn