The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) needs our support in assisting thousands of residents of southern states in cleaning up after devastating storms this spring. The Council of Bishops is appealing to United Methodists across the United States to receive special offerings for U.S. Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670. Even as cleanup is under way in those areas hardest hit by April’s historic tornado outbreaks, and as the muddy Mississippi River rises today to levels unseen in more than seven decades, the work of UMCOR is just beginning.

In the past six weeks, UMCOR has disbursed close to $200,000 in emergency grants to annual conferences dealing with the fallout from massive tornadoes, flooding, the threat of flooding, drought and wildfires. Thousands of people have been displaced and many of our churches have been damaged or destroyed.

The toll natural disasters take on communities is enormous. Yet they respond with a spirit of compassionate sacrifice, giving of their time and resources to help their neighbors. Many choose to give directly to their own annual conferences, and this is laudable. However, these funds will be insufficient to cover the needs of immediate relief and long-term recovery. Our annual conferences rely on UMCOR’s funds to fill in the gaps and provide the support our disaster response teams need in training, case management, spiritual and emotional care and guidance.

This spring, the sheer magnitude of storms and other emergencies has far out-paced UMCOR’s financial ability to respond. Already UMCOR is drawing on reserves in order to fulfill its unshaken and absolute commitment to the annual conferences and communities that have been directly affected by this year’s historic spring storm season. Although, UMCOR has replenished that money thanks to generous offerings, our U.S. Disaster Response fund remains perilously low. UMCOR may not have started the real work of recovery in the wake of current disasters. Even more troubling, UMCOR now stands as the door of the 2011 hurricane season, and recovery needs provoked by it will draw on the same, nearly depleted Spring Storms Advance.

UMCOR is grateful for the generosity of our United Methodist family for their support of UMCOR’s work around the world and is mindful of the sacrifice their compassion so often implies. In the spirit and power of Christ’s resurrection, please consider a special offering in your congregation to assist UMCOR in its work of compassion and concern. Also remember that 100 percent of these funds is used for disaster relief.

Please make your congregation’s check payable to the Indiana Conference UMC, mark the memo US Disaster Response UMCOR #901670 and send to INUMC Dept. 6089, Carol Stream, IL 60122. Thank you for your generous response.

Bishop Michael J. Coyner
Indiana Area of
The United Methodist Church
“Making a Difference in Indiana
and around the world”