After tornadoes, Bishop Cho calls for prayer, gifts to Disaster Response fund
Feb. 26, 2016 — In a letter sent to all clergy and laity leaders of churches in the Virginia Conference, Bishop Young Jin Cho asked for prayers for victims of the Feb. 24 tornadoes and for those responding to offer aid following the deadly storm system that swept from southern Virginia across the state and into the Northern Neck.
Bishop Cho also asked United Methodists to consider making a donation to the Virginia Conference Disaster Response Advance Special #5037. (See full text of letter below).
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February 26, 2016
Dear Friends in Christ,
On Wednesday, storms and multiple tornadoes swept across Virginia causing loss of life, injuries and severe property damage in communities in three districts of the conference.
In Appomattox in the Farmville District, more than 50 structures were destroyed and more than 100 damaged. Evergreen United Methodist Church sustained significant damage to its roof, and one of Evergreen's faithful members, Keith Harris, died in the tornado. His wife was seriously injured when her car was struck by a tree. In Waverly in the James River District, two houses and a mobile home were completely destroyed, and three people, including a two-year-old child, were killed. In Tappahannock in the Fredericksburg District, at least 50 structures were damaged.
We grieve with those who grieve as they seek to rebuild their lives and homes in the wake of these storms. But even as we grieve, we are responding with the love and hope of Christ.
Within hours after the storms struck, Virginia Conference disaster response teams were organized under the direction of the Rev. Robert Pihlcrantz, Disaster Response coordinator. Responding to a request from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Early Response Teams from St. Luke’s UMC on the York River District and Nimmo UMC on the Elizabeth River District were deployed to the Tappahannock area. Early Response Teams from the Lynchburg, Roanoke and Farmville Districts are being deployed to the Evergreen area. Debris removal in Waverly is being coordinated by local congregations in that community.
In the weeks and months to come, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) teams will be offered opportunities to assist in recovery efforts.
I ask for your prayers for the persons who live in these communities and for those who are offering a first response.
I also ask you to consider making a donation to the Virginia Conference Disaster Response Advance Special #5037. Your gift will help provide needed personnel, required equipment and a desired Christian witness not only for this current disaster, but also for disasters that may occur in the future.
You can make a gift through your local church. Or, send a check payable to “Virginia United Methodist Conference” to the Virginia Conference Treasurer, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Conference Advance #5037 – Disaster Response” on your check or apportionment statement.
I am grateful for your consideration of these requests. With God’s help, and each other, we can share Christ’s love and hope with those in need.
Your brother in Christ,
Young Jin Cho