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Cabinet, provisional members help with tornado relief efforts

By Madeline Pillow

The Cabinet and newly-commissioned clergy came together for a work day in Waverly on July 20. Waverly is one of the three areas that was affected by the Feb. 24 tornadoes.

The work day was dreamed up by one of the members of the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) said the Rev. Lindsey Baynham, associate director of The Center for Clergy Excellence, as a way to kick start ministry for the newly-commissioned clergy.

Click here to watch video of the work day.

“To see them [district superintendents] working alongside people they have mentored and brought to this point in ministry is really exciting,” said Baynham. "They are mentoring on the spot while they are drilling, hammering and cleaning roofs, and it’s just a really great partnership for our church.”

Dividing into different groups, the Cabinet and provisional members worked on five different homes throughout the day with work ranging from power washing, installing new gutters and sheet rocking.

Efforts moved from recovery to relief in Waverly on June 6. Forrest White, Disaster Recovery manager and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) coordinator for the Virginia Conference, said that teams have now worked on about a half dozen homes in that time.

The Rev. Janine Howard, Danville District superintendent, and the Rev. Tommy
Herndon, Harrisonburg District superintendent, take part in fellowship and
mission work in Waverly on July 20. 

White said he was pleased that the Cabinet and provisional members helped with relief efforts so they could not only build relationships among themselves but also illustrate that disaster relief can be done by anyone in the church. “No matter if you’re at the largest church in the conference or the smallest church in a charge in the conference, there’s a place for you in this disaster recovery,” said White.

Before their work day on July 20, the provisional members completed VIM training with White and now are fully trained to go back to their churches and lead a mission for short-term missions.

For the Rev. Ryan LaRock, newly-commissioned associate pastor at Christ Church, Alexandria District, the experience helped them to see each other in a different way as they worked alongside one another in mission.

“There’s sort of a transparency about being able to stop and get out of the buildings and get out the churches and actually do missions together and to be reminded that we are all in this together,” said LaRock.

Tornado relief efforts planned for Appomattox, Tappahannock area 

Relief efforts will expand to the Evergreen area in Appomattox in August and the Tappahannock area will be up and running in September.

White emphasized that they need a constant flow of funding to help get supplies as well as to keep teams scheduled one behind the other. He also said that prayers were still needed for the survivors and for the teams that serve.

Teams are still needed especially for the upcoming fall months. White said that September is typically a slow month in disaster response ministry due to the increase in activities and schools being back in session.

He encouraged people who come to serve to meet the survivors, learn about them and be open to the experience.

“Serving is a mutual thing,” White said.  “Come here and show as disciples that this is what Christ’s love looks like.”

For more information about relief efforts, putting together a team or the “Walls of Giving, Walls for Living” campaign, contact Forrest White at

One team made up of Cabinet and provisional members do roof work.



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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