From our District Superintendent, Rev. Mark Webb, an excerpt on flood response, availability of assistance and the call for volunteers. Please do pass along any flood info to the church office.
I hope everyone is well and beginning to dry out. We have received reports of various levels of flooding throughout the district with most issues being wet basements and leaky roofs. However several communities have been hit hard in spots and we will continue to discern needs and offer appropriate responses. In other Districts there is significant damage and loss in the Wilkes-Barre District and damage to churches and homes in the Lewisburg, Harrisburg, New Cumberland, Williamsport and Wellsboro Districts.
In talking with Larry Siikanen, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Annual Conference, there are things you need to know and can do to help your folks and the community move toward clean-up and restoration.
1. The Annual Conference through the Mission Board is in the process of hiring 3 people to coordinate the clean-up throughout our conference. It is hoped that they will be in place within a week. One of the three persons will be dedicated to coordinate work in mid-conference, another in the northeast and north, and a third in the south and west as needed. Those names will be available to you as soon as they are in place.
2. As people begin to return home and you know of needs for clean-up from the flood, please take their contact information and either send them to Larry at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at: 570.898.8710. You can also send the information to the District Office and it will be forwarded on to Larry. If your whole area is in need of help, let Larry know that. The needs don’t have to only be your parishioners, but folks in your neighborhood. Larry and the coordinators will begin to coordinate teams to come in and evaluate and then work to try and get VIM/Work Teams into the area.
3. If you have people that want to help or if your church wants to organize VIM/Work Teams please coordinate that through Larry. He will be able to know where the teams need to be deployed.
4. Many have asked about offerings for flood relief. You and or your church can make a donation to the Susquehanna Flood Relief Fund. Please mail to:
Susquehanna Conference, Attn: Finance Office, P. O. Box 2053, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Write in the memo line: "Susquehanna Flood Relief Fund #63660"
5. Mission Central is prepared with thousands of cleaning buckets. More are on the way from Sager Brown in LA. They will be working with Larry Siikanen to assess the damage and get the buckets out to folks.
6. If you and your congregation have not been affected by the flood or if you want to help assemble Cleaning Buckets you can call Mission Central at: 717.766.1533. You can make donations directly to Mission Central both in materials and monetarily. You may donate online at www.missioncentral.org by clicking the word "DONATE." Follow the latest developments at www.missioncentral.org and www.facebook.com/mission.central
One of the things the United Methodist Church does best—and one thing our Conference and District does well—is help each other through VIM/Work Teams. Cleanup and rebuilding will take months. We need to be in this for the long haul as usual in a disaster and we will do so! Please plan over the next months to mobilize as many teams as possible to help throughout our conference. This is the connection at its best!!!!!
Please keep me informed of the situation and the needs in the church and area you serve and please share this information with your congregations.
My prayers continue to be with you.