A certain way to help Sandy survivors

I love UMCOR. It is without a doubt one of my favorite things about the United Methodist Church. While the election naturally grabbed most of our attention this week, recovery from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy continues. As always, UMCOR is there.

Through UMCOR, United Methodists extend relief and recovery to people in need in the United States, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. Our work with affected communities helps them build capacity to meet the needs generated by an emergency.

That is from the Disaster Relief project at 10 Fold. (Yep, two years after 10/10/10, 10 Fold is still going strong. Check it out, just a few clicks sends donations to worthy projects. You can donate your own money there as well.) That was written well before Sandy. So was this:

When a disaster strikes a community in the US, local churches provide the first response. This basic understanding—that disaster response is local—is the foundation for all of UMCOR’s US disaster training programs and emergency response. We are, first and foremost, a resource for the local response. UMCOR provides training, expertise, and networking to help communities recover.

The stories of wreckage are hard to read. But worth reading anyway.

He looked up and down his streets, where his neighbors’ piles of ruined belongings were growing next to his own. “It’s unfathomable, the damage,” he said. “You can’t get your mind around the enormity of it.”

The best part of UMCOR is that 100% of donations go to relief. Administrative costs are covered by other means. I doubt there is another relief agency that can say the same.

Donate through UMCOR.

Learn how to create a Relief-Supply bucket.

Pray without ceasing.

The UMC is at work in Japan

[Pretty much every week, I write a…something…for my church‘s weekly eNewsletter. Way back when, it was my take on a pastoral letter. Then some time along the way, I started thinking of it more like a newspaper’s opinion column. Now I suppose I think of it as a blog post. Whatever I write for eNews usually ends up here too. Though usually in a slightly different form, edited for the more general audience that I hope is (could be someday?) reading here. Over there it’s called The View from the Dance Floor.]

First a massive, record-setting earthquake that triggered devastating tsunamis. Now a damaged nuclear plant forces us to consider the terrifying damage of radiation as well as forcing us to face the very real limits of nuclear power as “safe energy.”

Needless to say, the people of Japan need our prayers and our support.

Here’s a letter from Northern IL Conference Bishop, Hee-Soo Jung:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Northern Illinois:

In this humble time of Lenten self-reflection and spiritual journeying we are reminded that our world aches for hope and comfort.  The suffering of others, the tragedies and pain that abound in our midst, all call us to extend a hand to those who need to know Christ’s love for their lives.

My prayers and concern have been with the people of Japan and the Pacific area in these hours of devastation, uncertainty and fear following one of the most powerful earthquakes in history and the resulting tsunami.  As loved ones are accounted for we give thanks.  As the death toll mounts we mourn.  As the magnitude of the devastation slowly sinks in we extend our resources.

The United Methodist Church has nine missionaries, six full time volunteers and several mission associates in Japan.  Most have been accounted for.  Over the next few days our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will be working with partner agencies in organizing relief efforts for those in need.  Please hold those affected by this natural disaster in your prayers while extending aide through our agencies.

Your Brother in Christ,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung

One big advantage to giving through UMCOR (the humanitarian aid arm of The UMC): 100% of gifts go to the relief effort. That’s right. 100%

This is made possible by The One Great Hour of Sharing, an offering taken each year to fund the administration of UMCOR. Apportionment dollars are not used to fund UMCOR, only One Great Hour of Sharing funds.

Here’s the latest on the UMC’s work in Japan from the Board of Global Ministries.

But this is just a glimpse into relief work in Japan. Let’s broaden the picture: What are you (or an organization you associate with) doing in Japan?

I give thanks for all the ways God is at work in and through and with people and agencies from all over the globe, including the United Methodist Church, bringing healing and hope to so many!