Thursday, October 25, 2007

UMCOR Responds to California Wildfires

This came through on our Conference e-mail list...

UMCOR Responds to California Wildfires

Wildfires fueled by the hot Santa Ana winds continue to consume large portions of Southern California, particularly heavily-populated areas surrounding San Diego and Los Angeles. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is in close contact with Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the California-Pacific Annual Conference.

“In addition to an emergency grant to support the conference in its initial efforts, disaster response consultants are at the ready to provide the conference with their presence and guidance as needed,” says the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, head of UMCOR’s domestic disaster response.

Safety concerns have spurred the largest evacuation since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005... some seeking shelter in the Qualcomm stadium in San Diego. Pastors and congregations of five United Methodist Churches are among the evacuees, according to the San Diego District website. Several other United Methodist congregations remain closely affected although no known United Methodist Churches have been damaged by the fires as of yet.

“As always UMCOR offers its prayers and support to those in need,” says Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s chief executive. “We ask for your generous donations to the domestic disaster response advance as recent emergencies have depleted the funds we use to provide relief and support in disasters such as these.”

Please uphold the people of Southern California in your prayers in the coming days as no relief from the Santa Ana winds is in sight. Cash gifts will help provide for recovery. Checks can be made out to your local church. Local churches can send donations to the Office of Administrative Ministries of the New England Conference, PO Box 249, Lawrence, MA 01842. Please use the Conference Fund #513 and UMCOR Advance #901670, Domestic Disaster Response,” when submitting checks. One hundred percent of every donation to any appeal, including appeals for California wildfires, goes to support the designated program.
Let's surround all those affected by the California fires in our hearts and prayers, and let's share generously from our resources to support this effort.
Hymn writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has composed a hymn in response to the devastation, during which over 1,000,000 people, more people than at any time since the US Civil War, were moved and evacuated. Called O God of Mighty Wind and Flame, her words are set to the familiar tune of Ellacombe ("O Church of God, United"). It is made available here for use in congregational worship with the request that churches and individuals using it also financially support the relief efforts in response to the California fires. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is co-pastor with her husband Bruce of the Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

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