Disaster recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. For every day of the initial crisis, it takes an estimated 100 additional days before complete recovery. I’m neither a runner nor a mathematician, but it’s pretty clear that in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we’re looking at an ultra marathon recovery.
Here’s the good news: the United Methodist Church is already waiting at “the last mile.”
Because of our connectional system and the enthusiasm of John Wesley’s followers through the ages, the United Methodist Church has a presence in neighborhoods and communities that are under-served or un-servered by other religious organizations and relief agencies. We have a network of faithful lay and clergy people around the world who know and love and serve the specific needs of local communities, no matter how difficult those communities are to reach. When we make use of this connection, we improve lives.
Bishop Robert Schnase put it this way in his appeal to churches across the Rio Texas Conference:
United Methodist early responders are not always the first to arrive, but they are often the last to leave because we are committed to serving as long at takes to rebuild lives, to rebuild homes, to rebuild communities. Because of the scope of this disaster, we will all need to pull together to reach out. We must hold those who have lost so much close to our hearts.
There are three ways Bishop Schnase is inviting TUMC to do just that:
Pray for our friends and neighbors.
40 Days of Intentional Prayer for Hurricane Harvey Recovery will start Sunday, September 3. Every day for forty days, someone from TUMC will be praying for the individuals and communities affected by this storm.
Choose a day and sign up online>
Give to the Rio Texas UMC Disaster Response Fund.
Financial generosity is vital when responding to this scale of need, and the dollars given to this fund will go directly to relief and recovery. Your financial gifts create much needed flexibility for UMC Disaster Response teams to purchase needed supplies and materials for immediate and long term response.
Give Online >
Attend Early Response Team (ERT) training.
This day-long training prepares volunteers and is required to participate on the front lines of response and cleanup. We anticipate that affected communities will be requesting ERT teams for weeks or even months after the water recedes and would like to have a large group of trained TUMC members who are ready to respond. The Rio Texas Conference is currently offering several training sessions:
September 9 in San Antonio at Coker UMC Register >
September 16 at Tarrytown UMC Register >
October 7 in Austin at First UMC Register >
Thank you for all the ways you are responding to neighbors in need. With “so great a cloud of witnesses” as this faith community, it is easier to run with perseverance the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2) because we are running it together.
See you at the first mile—and the last.