Friday, February 15, 2010
Edited by Daniel R. Gangler, director of communication
Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church

HOOSIER MISSION TEAM OF NINE TO HAITI ARE SAFE AND SOUND

Good news! Just prior to a prayer service at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis Thursday evening, word was received that the daughter of team members Gary and Kay Walla had spoken to a contact of St. Luke’s in Haiti, who reported that all nine members of the St. Luke’s and Milroy UMC mission team are safe and sound. As of last night, St. Luke staff still had not yet spoken with any members of the team. This early information came from a known and reliable source and members and the staff of St. Luke’s was thrilled.

The news was shared at the prayer service and was met with applause and tears of joy and relief. The leaders of the St. Luke’s and Milroy churches express their thanks to everyone for their prayers and support.

One of St. Luke’s associate pastors, Jamalyn Williamson leads the team of eight of four volunteers in mission from each congregation.

View WISH-TV’s story here.

UNITED METHODISTS RESCUED FROM HOTEL RUBBLE IN HAITI

Three United Methodist church staff were rescued late Thursday night from the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Rev. Sam Dixon, top executive of the United Methodist Committee on Relief; the Rev. Clinton Rabb, head of Mission Volunteers; and the Rev. James Gulley, an UMCOR consultant, are now safe, said the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, an UMCOR official.

“Sam and Clint are on their way to the hospital,” he told United Methodist News Service. “They both have leg injuries.” Gulley was uninjured, he added.

Three staff from IMA World Health who were meeting with the trio at the hotel – Sarla Chand, a United Methodist who serves as vice president of international programs; Rick Santos, the agency’s president, and Ann Varghese, program officer for Haiti – also were rescued and are fine.

A story posted by ABC News said Chand “thanked rescuers for saving her life” as she was carried out of the rubble. She is a former staff member of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, UMCOR’s parent agency.

The news of their rescue was first posted on a Hotel Montana Facebook page. Hazelwood said Gulley called his wife, Nancy, who then called Roland Fernandes, a Global Ministries executive.

Others had been rescued from the hotel earlier in the day. Later in the afternoon, CNN had reported that American, Chilean and French search-and-rescue crews were trying to reach a woman trapped in the bar area of the five-story hotel.

The hotel collapsed when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12. – UMNS

For complete story, click here.

FUTURE VOLUNTEERS WILL BE NEEDED FOR HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS

There will be a great need for volunteers to help rebuild once the initial crisis has settled. At this time, it is not safe or possible for volunteers to go to Haiti. In order to frame a response that is consistent with the churches’ needs, people and teams wishing to volunteer should contact LeKisha Reed in the Indiana Conference Center to determine when and how to appropriately respond. She will compile a list of all interested volunteers. When it is time to send volunteers in – the teams must have a trained team leader who should also have some Haiti experience.

UMCOR Tom Hazelwood will let us know when the time for volunteers is appropriate – i.e., when Haiti Methodist Church is ready for teams. We will work on projects which are the priority of church of Haiti. To keep current with the news regarding the situation in Haiti, continue to check the UMCOR Web site. – Bonnie Albert, UMVIM Coordinator Indiana Conference

VOLUNTEERS AND HEALTH KITS

According to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief),  there will be a great need for volunteers to help rebuild once the initial crisis is past, but it is not safe or possible for volunteers to go to Haiti at the present. However, UMCOR’s two relief supply warehouses are asking United Methodists to provide health kits that will be sent to Haiti. Instructions for assembling and shipping health kits are available here.

ONLINE DONATIONS

We are grateful that donations continue to come in online. Donors may also contribute by placing a check in the offering plate at a local church or by mailing it to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Checks should indicate “Advance #418325” in the memo line.

Offerings received at churches need to be send to their District Centers using the same P.O. Box address used when sending in the conference tithe.

MINISTRY RESOURCES

Following the Asian tsunami, United Methodist Communications produced a video and study guide titled “God, Why?” to help people cope with the spiritual and emotional impact of disasters. The resource, available from EcuFilm,  explores why such tragedies happen and Gods role in them. The study guide provides a basis for group study and discussion.

During this time of pain and suffering, let us take comfort in the promise of Psalm 46:1, NRSV: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

UNITED METHODISTS LIFT UP HOPE, PRAYERS FOR HAITI QUAKE VICTIMS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – United Methodists are giving thanks, packing boxes of supplies, wiping away tears, and above all praying as news comes in about the death and destruction in Haiti. Churches and annual (regional) conferences in the United States are starting to get word from their mission teams who were in Haiti when the massive earthquake hit. Many are safe, some are wounded and others have not been heard from. Many churches and agencies held special prayer services. Read full story here.

DISPLAY AD IN FOUR SIZES TO PROMOTE HAITI UMCOR RELIEF

Click here.

EMERGENCY RELIEF KITS NEEDED FOR MIDWEST MISSION DISTRIBUTION

Click here for a list of Kits and contents for them needed by the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatam, Ill., near Springfield. Address and shipping information is on the site.