Ways for our churches to respond to the SC flooding disaster

In October, SC was hit with what has been called 1,000 year flood rains, which created an emergency for many people.
I am grateful for the response many of you have given to help others. In the days and years ahead I am counting on all of us to help in some way. Our brothers and sisters need our help and I am sure we will show Christ like compassion.
Here I want to give some guidance for our continued response:
Pray: God is the source of true help. Praise God in the midst of disaster and lift up those in need. Listen for God’s guidance as to how you should respond.
Give: Donations to flood relief in SC will be used by our conference to help those in needed. You can donate online at www.umcsc.org or mail a check payable to SC Conference of the UMC to SC Disaster Response, PO Box 3787, Columbia, SC 29230.
Stay informed: Watch for updates at www.umcsc.org. The situation is changing daily. Help is being rendered and new needs are being discovered.
Emergency Response Teams: Cleaning buckets, health kits, and school kits are our United Methodist part of the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster in the emergency phase of disaster response. ERTs are doing good work. The buckets and kits are being delivered. India Hook UMC, 3300 Mt. Gallant Rd. Rock Hill, is the district collection point for cleaning buckets, school kits, and health kits. We would like to add two more collection points, each providing spaces for 50-100 buckets. Wesley Memorial UMC, Chester, is a possibility. Would your church be a collection point? The supplies will need continued restocking and we need additional ERT trained volunteers. Is God calling you to this?
UMVIM: During the recovery phase, United Methodists are counted on to provide United Methodist Volunteers in Mission teams to rehabilitate homes and structures. We anticipate 20,000 homes will still need help after FEMA and insurance companies have done all they will do. Many teams will be needed for years. Team leaders must be experienced and trained. In November, leadership training will be offered (Nov. 7th in Charleston, Nov. 14th in Columbia, Nov. 21st in Greenville). Contact Lee McMillan at lmcmillan@umcsc.org if you are interested.
Local Church Disaster Response Plan: The importance of having this in place is confirmed by the emergency in our state. We want every church prepared when a disaster strikes us.
Clergy Support: The pastors serving communities who experienced the emergency need support. Clergy are volunteering who can supply the pulpit to allow these pastors a respite Sunday in November. Others may volunteer to fill in over the next weeks to allow pastors a break. Clergy, please notify the district office if you will volunteer.
Apportionments: Churches in the emergency missed Sunday services, were displaced, had members dislocated, and have extraordinary repair expenses. Giving their apportionments will be much harder. Here is an opportunity for churches in non-disaster communities to help our sister congregations. Has your church considered going the extra mile and contributing to a sister congregation’s apportionments?
Thanks for caring in response to this crisis. I am grateful to Gene Blevins, our district Disaster Response Coordinator, who has been constantly involved in the conference response. Marvin Horton and several of our ERT volunteers have responded to requests for assistance. More will be needed. Cleaning buckets, health kits, and school kits have been delivered. More are being made. Others have assisted through Red Cross and directly. Some are being trained for ERT and UMVIM team leaders. For all who have and will be praying, giving, and serving, I say “Thank you.”

Joe