Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ministry Matters™ | Blog | Faith Facing Tragedy

Ministry Matters™ | Blog | Faith Facing Tragedy
By Bishop Michael Lowry, Central Texas Conference

Collectively this has been a hard week. News of the tragic terrorist bombing at the Boston marathon was joined last night by the massive explosion here in West, Texas. While Boston may be distant, we still reach out instinctively with our prayer and our care. The town of West lies in the heart of the Central Texas COnference of The United Methodist Church. This tragedy is close to home and touches our lives much more intimately. Here too we reach out with the love and care of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I was on the phone last night with Rev. Don Scott, the District Superintendent of West United Methodist Church. West UMC is pastored by Rev. Jimmy Samson. At the time of writing this blog (Thursday morning, April 18, 2013), Rev. Laraine Waughtal, Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Central Texas Conference, is in West working with Pastor Samson on how we might best respond. Rev. Kyland Dobbins and Dr. Randy Wild from our Conference Mission Support Center are coordinating our response. We are aware of four church members whose homes are demolished and many others who have suffered damage. Four families of West UMC are currently unaccounted for. A number of churches in the Central District of the Conference are open as emergency shelters as needed. Officials from The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR— a part of our connectional worldwide mission to places experiencing disasters and one arm of the General Board of Global Ministries) has already been in touch with the offer of an emergency grant to help in relief efforts.

As is being widely reported, the community of West currently has all the emergency help they need. Officials in West are asking people to stay away until further assessment is done and specific help is requested.

How should we as a people of faith face these and other tragedies?

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