Areas across the Southeast woke up Monday morning to the devastation caused by severe storms and tornadoes. The Weather Service logged at least three dozen tornado reports Sunday as twisters swept across Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, but none were as severe as those in Lee County, Ala., where at least 24 persons were killed.
"Our hearts hurt, and we grieve with those affected," said Bishop Lawson Bryan. "I have contacted Bishop David Graves, of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, to express our grief and our desire to be supportive in every way we can."
In the South Georgia area, initial reports showed major damage in the counties of Grady, Harris, and Talbot Counties. Governor Brian Kemp declared a State of Emergency for these three counties to deploy state assistance in the wake of severe thunderstorms, excessive precipitation, and tornadoes in those areas. The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency is actively monitoring the severe weather event and is coordinating with our state, local, federal, as well as public and private sector partners to position resources around the state. South Georgia Conference officials have been in contact with pastors in the areas.
"Our prayers go out to those impacted, for the families who have lost loved ones, and for our clergy in the connection who are ministering in this time of tragedy," said Allison Lindsey, associate director of Connectional Ministries. "We are thankful for our connection as UMCOR and surrounding Conferences have reached out to check on each other and offer assistance. Please continue to be in prayer."
Reminder: Please do not self-deploy into the impacted areas as time is needed for the local responders to assess and secure their communities making it safe for volunteers to assist.
"Right now is yet another opportunity for us to be Alive Together in Christ," Bishop Bryan said. "Please pray for those whose lives have been impacted. And when the time is right, please be the hands and feet of Christ and mobilize to help those in the affected communities recover and rebuild their lives."
More will be shared as the Conference Disaster Response Team receives and confirms accurate information.