UMCOR, churches respond to Hurricane Matthew’s destruction

Hurricane Matthew, one of the fiercest hurricanes in nearly a decade, left a trail of destruction including nearly 1,000 dead in Haiti and up to 90 percent of some areas there destroyed, plus nearly 40 dead in the Southeast United States— from North Carolina to Florida. Some officials fear the toll may go higher.

UMCOR-HurricaneMatthew1The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) acted quickly in response to the death and destruction in the Caribbean, most notably in Haiti, our hemisphere’s poorest nation. UMCOR’s provision of emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance builds on its sustained presence in Haiti since a disastrous earthquake struck there in January 2010.

The relief agency will also assist Bahamas Methodist Habitat with a grant in response to Matthew’s damage to that part of the Caribbean. Donations in response to Hurricane Matthew can be made to either UMCOR’s International Relief Fund (Advance #982450) or to the U.S. Disaster Fund (Advance #901670). Learn more…

The United Methodist Florida Conference reported 29 church damage claims as of Oct. 11; but none are uninhabitable. Six of the 12 districts in the South Carolina Conference have seen damage from the storm, several with massive flooding. The conference has opened up its disaster response hotline to begin helping people in need.

One caring pastor of a flooded church in South Carolina borrowed a military vehicle from a church member and drove into floodwaters to deliver bottled water, food and prayers to trapped residents in.

Disaster relief teams in these states, North Carolina and also South Georgia are still assessing damage. Some Carolina rivers have not yet crested, so more flooding is feared.

Cleaning buckets are needed in all affected areas. The United Methodist Committee on Relief has directions on their web site for assembling the buckets. Donations can be given online at Disaster Response, International #982450 and United States Disaster Response Fund.

North CarolinaSouth Carolina, and South Georgia are also asking for donations.

Meanwhile, writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette offers a new hymn she composed to support relief work in response to Hurricane Matthew. She gives permission for free use of “In Haiti We Have Brothers,” to be sung to the tune of “The Church Is One Foundation,” by congregations to support relief work and giving to help those impacted by the hurricane. Email her at to receive the hymn in a worship bulletin format for copying.

In Haiti We Have Brothers

AURELIA D  (“The Church’s One Foundation”)

In Haiti we have brothers whose homes no longer stand;
Our sisters there, and daughters, now grieve a broken land.
When storm and rain came crashing, when winds of terror blew,
Our mothers and our sons there cried out, O God, to you.

With homes now brought to ruin, our sisters fear the worst;
Our sons have no clean water to even quench their thirst.
Our fathers who were injured cry out to you above;
O God, these are our family— the ones we’re called to love.

In Cuba and Jamaica are neighbors far away;
In Florida and in Georgia are ones for whom we pray.
In South and North Carolina are folks hurt by the storm;
We weep with people weeping; we grieve with those who mourn.

O God, it seems much easier to help those close at hand,
But you love all your children in every single land.
May we see all who suffer as people loved by you,
And may we seek to serve them, for they’re our family, too.

Tune:  Samuel S. Wesley, 1864
Text: Copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
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