A group of members and pastors from Methodist churches in the San Juan area form a human chain to unload supplies at the Utuado church in central Puerto Rico. The "brigade" drove into the area to help meet the needs of people who have not been reached by FEMA or federal aid organizations. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

Puerto Rico Methodists respond to ‘catastrophe.’

By the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez and Linda Bloom
Oct. 5, 2017 | UMNS

The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico has activated an emergency strategy to respond to community needs following Hurricane Maria.

“My definition of the situation is the same as FEMA’s and other government entities,” Bishop Hector Ortiz wrote in an Oct. 4 letter explaining the church’s initial plans. “They have all said that ‘this is a catastrophe.’”

While the Puerto Rican church has the support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, resources are limited for now. “The complexity of this catastrophe has delayed the support that we need,” the bishop said in the letter. “We have been out of power, out of communication, and many of the local routes are blocked or destroyed. It has been a big obstacle to complete an evaluation of the situation around our churches.”

Assistance will be needed to provide a complete assessment of the post-Maria situation, Ortiz said, but Puerto Rican Methodist leaders are doing what they can. He encouraged donations to UMCOR and the Puerto Rican church’s social holiness agency to help buy needed supplies, including water, food, batteries, solar light bulbs and radios. Continue Reading on umc.org

Also see: Let’s celebrate ‘Hispanic Provision & Care Month’ by the Rev. Brunilda Martínez.