Bishop calls for donations of funds, storm kits
By Maidstone Mulenga
The United Methodist Church Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Marcus Matthews is appealing to members and churches in the area to support the relief effort in the wake of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene.
In a letter to the more than 182,000 members of 937 United Methodist churches under his supervision, Bishop Matthews urged the Christians to render help to their neighbors who were affected by the storm.
The rains came down and the floods came up. The house of our Lord stands firm. As the waters recede, our neighbors need our help. Many homes have been destroyed and will need to be rebuilt; others will need repair, he wrote in the letter dated Aug. 30.
He said the greatest need is for funds for immediate relief and long-term recovery. Cash is the most flexible in use, most easily transportable donation. It can be stored at no cost and does not spoil.
Donations can be sent to UNY Conference Center, (324 University Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210) designating your gift to fund #4200 (Upper New York Conference Hurricane Recovery). The focus will be helping our churches, communities and individuals after other resources are exhausted.
Please remember that 100 percent of all gifts through our United Methodist Church are available for recovery work, Bishop Matthews wrote.
Additional cash donations can be sent to UMCOR for wider area needs. Designate US Disaster Response #901670 on your check and send them through our Conference office. UMCOR contributions can also be made online.
Bishop Matthews and Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Carl Chamberlain are also urging local churches to consider hosting flood relief fundraisers, receiving special offerings or tithing a portion of an existing event.
Bishop Matthews also called on churches to contribute toward Cleaning Buckets and Health Kits (formerly known as Flood Buckets). Chamberlain has requested a tractor-trailer load of Health Kits for immediate distribution through a partnership with The Salvation Army. We have assurance that the need is far beyond our supplies on hand, he said.
Churches have been asked to begin collecting the supplies and assembling Cleaning Buckets and Health Kits for collection next week.
In regard to volunteers, there are few communities ready to receive teams at this early stage. Those wishing to volunteer are asked to contact Greg Forrester, NEJ UMVIM coordinator, if you have a team ready to deploy. He will know those areas ready for volunteers or can help schedule work teams in the months ahead. Current UM-VIM Early Response Teams (ERTs) should contact Forrester for assignments. His office number is (607) 756-7799 or e-mail him at umvimnejs"0" sizset="29">Meanwhile, district superintendents are assessing any damage to church properties across our Conference. If your church or parsonage has sustained damage, you are asked to notify your DS and contact the Conference insurance carrier, Walsh-Duffield, immediately. Contact information is on our Conference web page (www.unyumc.org). You may also contact our Walsh-Duffield agent Charmaine Derenda directly at (716) 362-7336 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Keep in prayer our neighbors whose lives are disrupted by Hurricane Irene and the associated flooding. Also remember the men and women who are serving others in need. Join us in prayer and service that we may all be safe in the hands of our Lord, Bishop Matthews said.