written by Phil Shea, SWC Disaster Ministries Coordinator
During the Arizona Goodwin Fire in late June we kept in touch with Pastor Thomas at Faith United Community Church in Dewey. While their church community fared well during the fire, along with some understandable anxiety, they were concerned for a friend in Humbolt who operated a Certified VA Medical Foster Home which had to be evacuated. Thankfully, all appears to have turned out well for them. This event reminds us of the threats and dangers of the fire season in Arizona and New Mexico and how it can impact our UCC Congregations and our neighboring communities. We want to be aware and stand with all our congregational communities in Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso. Please let me know when you have disaster emergencies or disaster threats to your communities.
The UCC Disaster Ministries and SWC Conference Disaster Ministries stand ready to support and assist your congregations and your communities in time of disaster. Because of the many first responders and agencies already equipped to assist with initial disaster relief, UCC/SWC Disaster Ministries helps congregations connect with those resources, but, focuses on assisting with the needs of long-term recovery.
If a disaster need arises in your congregational community, you can contact our Conference Minister and I to assist you with your response. A disaster may not impact your congregation directly, but you may see an opportunity to minister to your community neighbors during a disaster or the recovery aftermath. My contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org and 602-663-5065. Please feel free to contact me any time of day or night.
UCC Disaster Ministries can assist our Conference with expertise, small grants, and help organizing work teams and resources to support church and community recovery. Contact me if you would like more information about UCC Disaster Ministries. Additionally, I work at the same facility that houses the Arizona Division of Emergency Management and regularly interact with the Arizona Volunteer Agency Liaison for disaster relief. The SWC also belongs to the Voluntary Organizations Assisting in Disaster (VOAD). The Regional Red Cross Director for Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso is the Arizona VOAD Director. We are connected when we need help.
Finally, I ask all of you to pray for our congregations and their communities during the fire season.
Phil Shea, SWC Disaster Ministries Coordinator