The roof of La Vernia UMC's (Rio Texas Conference) historic chapel was seriously damaged by Hurricane Harvey. (Church Facebook photo)

Prayers, donations, readiness needed for Harvey response

As flooding and destruction from Hurricane Harvey in South Texas continue to grow, United Methodists across the nation are waiting to assist in clean up and recovery. Meanwhile, there’s much you can do.

Hurricane Harvey hit hard. While storm-related deaths have been few so far, communities are devastated, and the rains, winds and floods will get worse over the next several days. This catastrophe is leaving its mark on the state of Texas with nearby states on watch. Recovery and rebuilding will be a long process.

Bishop Peggy Johnson reminds us to “Please keep all those affected in our prayers. Safety for those still in the storm areas, travel mercies for first responders going to the area, hope for those starting their recovery efforts. There will be at least three more flood crests in the Houston area!

”Harvey is causing record flooding in areas that also experienced severe flooding last year,” she writes. “The extent of the damage will not be known for months, but we know recovery will takes years to complete.”

Early Response Teams, Disaster Ministry Coordinators and UMCOR (UM Committee on Relief) are leading relief and recovery efforts. Meanwhile, our conference Disaster Ministry Coordinator (& UM Volunteers in Ministry Coordinator), the Rev Greg Ellis, says there are at least Five Things You Can Do:

  1. Please continue to pray for those whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storm Harvey. Please also pray for the Early Response Teams, disaster coordinators, and the many staff and volunteers in:
    The Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church,
    Río Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church
    Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church  and
    Central Texas Conference
    who are working tirelessly to provide relief after Harvey.
  2. Make flood buckets, relief kits and health kits. – Info on Supply Kits. UMCOR has warehouses across the country stocked with Relief Kits and other supplies ready for the next truck headed to an area of immediate need. Putting together Relief Kits can be done by a family or small group or as a larger church effort. For details about specific immediate needs and instructions for Relief Kits and Health Kits, visit Mission Central.
  3. Give to UMCOR’s relief and recovery efforts.  Donate Here (100% of your donation goes to the cause). You can give online to UMCOR’s Domestic Disaster Advance #901670; or send a check for UMCOR, with the Advance number in the notation line, to our Conference Treasurer, Eastern PA Conference, United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Contributions support the personnel, supplies and equipment needed to organize disaster response and a long-term rebuilding.
  4. Wait to donate only those items requested. As needs become known in Texas and neighboring states, the affected conferences will reach out. Please do not send “stuff” to the damaged areas. Wait for specific requests from UMCOR or local governments.
  5. Please wait for an invitation to volunteer.

These are the immediate needs and ways we can help the people in Texas right now. FEMA is working with the local and state agencies in Texas to make sure everyone is safe. At the appropriate time, Emergency Response Teams (ERT) will be requested, and when Texas is ready to receive teams for helping with the recovery and rebuilding, there will be opportunities for UMVIM teams to travel and work directly with the people.

We will keep you updated as the situation unfolds. Please surround the people of Texas in your prayers and let us be a light of hope and love in their time of need.

UMCOR – United Methodist Committee On Relief is grateful for your relentless prayers and support.

Here is a list of six Mission Central Hubs in the Eastern PA Conference:

  • BERWYN HUB 140 Waterloo Avenue, Berwyn, PA  19312. 610-644-5555 (church office). hub.bumc@gmail.com. Coordinators: Bob Hazen and Deb Hazen.
  • LANCASTER COUNTY HUB (Sponsored by St. Paul’s UMC Elizabethtown)
    398 N. Locust Street, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. 717-367-1889
    Coordinator: Liz Helm—jdheah@embarqmail.com.
  • LEBANON HUB  Covenant  UMC, 346 N. 9th St., Lebanon, PA  17042
    Coordinator: Mariellen Lantz, 717-273-7316, thegirlsathome@verizon.net
  • LEHIGH VALLEY OUTREACH DEPOT  Wesley UMC, Bethlehem, PA.
    Mailing Address: PO Box 373, Bethlehem, PA 18016. Location: 619 E. Allen St., Allentown, PA 18109. (610) 351-1616. www.lvoutreachdepot.org
    Hub Coordinator: Gayne Marriner, gayne@rcn.com, 610-217-4887
    Volunteer/UMCOR Kit Coordinator: Barbara Reimers, bbreimers@verizon.net 610-694-0767.
  • MISSION CENTRAL HUB AT CLEONA Immanuel UMC, 29 East Maple St., Cleona, PA  17042  717-272-8663. Coordinator: Jeanne Earnshaw 717-270-5445. jearnshaw@comcast.net.
  • READING AREA HUB  Holy Cross Memorial UMC, 329 North Fifth Street,
    Reading, PA 19601. 610-373-7260. ReadingAreaHUB-1@live.com. Or churchoffice@memholycross.org. Coordinator: Louise Harner, 610-374-3962.

For more information, contact the Rev Greg Ellis (“Deacon Greg”), Disaster Ministry Coordinator & UMVIM Coordinator Eastern PA Conference (c) 484 350 5965