From Phil Shea, SWC Disaster Coordinator, UCC:
UCC Disaster Ministries focuses on Preparedness and Long-Term Recovery. Long-Term Recovery is the most protracted response and the costliest.
The UCC Disaster Ministries team continues to monitor the situation through multiple channels at the state, national and international levels.
We have been in contact with our Conference Disaster Coordinators in the states which remain within the potential impact areas. The message has been ‘Be prepared, take evacuation orders seriously and respond accordingly’
Because there are no UCC Churches in the Bahamas we are exploring potential partnerships with other organizations that have a more direct connections and will be determining our response as emergency needs are met, damage assessments occur and recovery begins.
Financial donations are most effective, efficient and beneficial to survivors. Churches and individuals wanting to help hurricane victims should be aware that "financial donations are most effective, efficient and beneficial to survivors" - Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth. They can be made online through such channels as One Great Hour of Sharing, the Emergency USA Fund and the International Emergency Relief Fund, all found at the UCC's Donate to Disaster Relief web page. Disaster relief donations that don’t bring relief
As you receive inquiries from individuals wanting to ‘do something’ or support UCC Disaster Ministries, here are some suggestions.
Pray for all who have been impacted and those that remain in harm’s way. Disaster Ministries worship materials can be found here: Prayers Following Disasters
Donate to support disaster recovery, families and communities impacted by disaster. Donate to Disaster Relief
Volunteer to help families and communities recover. Volunteer in Disaster Recovery
Build relief kits using the UCC Disaster Ministries Matching Grants for CWS Kits Home Page
Prepare your family and church so that you are able to respond locally if a disaster impacts your community. Resources
UCC’s Florida Conference and UCC Disaster Ministries’ long-term recovery work sites in Florida — the result of Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Michael — are reaching out to their clients and constituents with preparedness information. Our UCC Disaster Team leaders and volunteers stay active for years after a disaster falls out of the headlines, providing case, construction and volunteer management – all the while seeking donations of cash and rebuilding materials.
"UCC Disaster Ministries has been in communication through our international networks monitoring the aftermath, needs and response to Dorian in the Bahamas," said Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth. "We will continue to seek ways that we can fill gaps and establish appropriate partnerships to aid in the long-term recovery efforts. Additionally, Dorian remains a very dangerous storm that still has potential to cause significant damage along the east coast of the United States. We call on the church to be in prayer, to be prepared, to not forget the communities still recovering from disasters past and to give appropriately."
Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, associate general minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations, composed this prayer:
Holy God, you are an ever-present help in times of trouble. We put our hope in you on behalf of those whose lives have been affected by tragedy in the Bahamas. We pray their peace and comfort, asking for help for those who have suffered loss. We pray calm for those who now wait anxiously. Grant your peace, O God. Amen.