Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, La., about 35 miles east of the Texas border, early Thursday as a Category 4 storm, one of the most powerful to strike the Gulf Coast in decades.
When a part of our connection is impacted, we are impacted. Our connectional system is at its best when we come together to help those in need. Please continue to be in prayer for all those in the path of Hurricane Laura. We will continue to keep you informed as we are made aware of needs.
Below are four things we can all do now to help those impacted by this storm:
1. Pray. Please continue to pray for those whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Laura. Please also pray for the First Responders through the search and rescue phase of this response, Early Response Teams, disaster coordinators, and the many volunteers in the Texas and Louisiana Conferences of The United Methodist Church who are working tirelessly to provide relief and assess immediate needs.
2. Give. Give to relief and recovery efforts.
3. Wait. Please do not deploy until our Conference Disaster Response team receives a call for volunteers. Our Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Luis Morales, will provide information for the District Disaster Response Coordinators and the ERT teams to deploy as soon as it is secure, safe, and sanitary and the Texas Conference and/or Louisiana Conference have issued an invitation for teams.
Also, please do not begin collecting or sending goods and supplies until we have clear direction for what is needed to best assist the areas. UMCOR is already at work and has already staged thousands of flood buckets in the area. While we all want to be helpful during this time, we also don’t want to contribute to the “second disaster.” In the months and weeks to come, there may be a need to help replenish Sager Brown’s supply. We will communicate if there is a time to produce those buckets. While we all want to be helpful during this time, we also do not want to contribute to the “second disaster” in which well intended donations are not an actual need (or there are no current avenues for distribution) allowing items to collect and do harm by becoming a burden to responders.
4. Connect. Stay connected to the conferences that have been impacted through their websites and Facebook pages for updated, timely information:
Louisiana Annual Conference:
Texas Annual Conference:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. We will continue to keep you updated through our website and Facebook page as assessments are made and invitations are given for outside ERT teams to go into these areas if needed. Praying for all those affected and displaced from this storm.
South Georgia Conference Disaster Coordinator
Director, Office of Connectional Ministries
To the South Georgia Conference:
As Hurricane Laura moved inland making landfall in Louisiana and Texas, I assured the bishops of those areas that their brothers and sisters in South Georgia are praying for them, their churches, and especially for their disaster response ministries. Remembering how many conferences have responded to our needs during the past four years, we will be alert to ways we can help.
In moments like this, we are reminded of the importance of our disaster response ministry. Thanks to Luis Morales, our conference disaster response coordinator, and to each person who serves as a district disaster response coordinator. I also want to thank those who lead trainings for Emergency Response Teams and to the dozens of our members who have been through this training. Countless persons have been served because of their willingness to be the hands and feet of Christ.
Merciful God, whose Holy Spirit binds us together with cords that cannot be broken, we pray for our brothers and sisters in the path of Hurricane Laura. Enable them to think clearly and act immediately as they prepare for the work of both relief and recovery. We pray for the United Methodist churches that serve these communities. May the connectional system be all that you intend us to be as we respond to their needs. In the name of Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.
When the storms of life are raging, the South Georgia Conference can be counted on to be Alive Together at The Table.
R. Lawson Bryan