Riding through the streets of Henryville three days after the deadly tornadoes ripped through town was a surreal experience. Stunned residents and willing volunteers walked the wet and muddy streets crowded with service trucks and media crews. The loud sounds of power saws and heavy equipment filled the air.

Henryville Pastor Wilma Bone pointed out what used to be here and what used to be there. There was much hugging and lots of tears as neighbors comforted each other telling their survivor stories.

Disasters are painful. Where does one begin when house, cars, belongings, furniture and yards are beyond recognition? The word on the ground is “hope.”

For many their hope will come through United Methodist churches, not only in Henryville, Pekin, Holston, Hanover and other southern Indiana communities, but also to United Methodists who are sending supplies, giving money and scheduling time to come to help residents recover. That’s the main story of this issue. When you read it, some news will be out of date, because relief and recovery can move fast as debris is hauled away. On this page see how you can help fellow Hoosiers recover not only their homes, but aslo in many ways, recover their lives as well.

Up to date information is available at www.inumc.org/disasterresponse. Thousands of people are counting on us to help survivors regain what they have lost.

There also are stories in this issue about people, congregations and clusters of churches working together New Palestine, Marion, Columbia City, Battle Ground, Mount Vernon, Indianapolis, Evansville, Bloomington, Munster and Fort Wayne.

The fourth Indiana Annual Conference session will be held June 7-9 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Read information about the Laity Manuscript Contest and the Laity Session. This annual conference also will have childcare. Come a day early on June 6 to take part in the Conference Connect mission outreach. A listing of all two-hour conference briefings can be reviewed as we prepare to be Making ROOM.

The 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church will be held in Tampa April 24-May 4. This is the top legislative body of the church which meets once every four years. Read more about General Conference. Also review the list of who will be representing you at the General Conference.

Read the Easter short story by columnist Todd Outcalt and be informed about two new books written by Hoosiers.

These are but highlights of what’s in this issue of your Hoosier United Methodists Together.

Welcome.

Daniel R. Gangler