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Information from Serving Ministries and the Virginia Conference Disaster Response Team

Our hearts break as we see the images of the aftermath of the tornado that impacted Kentucky and other states.  A deadly record-breaking EF-4 tornado caused a swath of damage, death, and destruction for almost 220 miles.  As a result, many communities were damaged, and some ceased to exist.  Many homes were damaged by the tornado, and some were torn apart from their loved ones.

The tornado landed on the third Sunday in Advent, a time when we search for a sense of joy. We can be bewildered to find joy when thousands of people are now homeless, planning funerals, and struggling to find hope. At the same time, we remember that the season of Advent is our call to embody Christ’s joy and hope to our neighbors caught in darkness. 

The Virginia Conference Disaster Response team is working closely with neighboring conferences to assess the need and where we can help. Today, the Conference Disaster Response Coordinators for both the Kentucky/Tennessee annual conference are in Mayfield, KY. We will provide a status update via the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which we will share with the conferences as information becomes available.  

 In the meantime, we ask you to join us in sharing the hope by doing the following. 

  1. Pray – Keep all who are affected by this event in your prayers. Pray for the survivors and victims. Pray for the first responders. Pray for the government officials involved. 
  2. Give – UMCOR Disaster Response fund is the best way to support the survivors of this tragedy. Your church may send a check to the Conference Treasurer’s office with a memo that the offering is for UMCOR Disaster Relief #901670, or you may give online.  
  3. Remember – Sending or collecting items before requested can create a so-called “second disaster.” In this event, valuable human resources and resources are allocated to deal with donations that may not be needed or wanted.  Therefore, we ask churches and individuals to focus on financial giving.   
  4. Follow the standard rules of deployment –  Do NOT self-deploy—people who decide self-deploying can overtax the already stretched resources on the ground.  When the Annual Conference is ready for volunteers, information will come via the Virginia CDRC Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz. 

We will continue to update the Conference with future needs and opportunities to share the ‘Hope.’ For more information or questions, please contact the Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, at (757) 408-6653 or vacdrt1@gmail.com.


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