In Case of Disaster
What a pastor should do if a disaster strikes in Virginia
To Report a Disaster in Your Area
1. Call your District Superintendent as soon as possible. Rev. Bob Parks (responsible for contact with local pastors and Bishop.)(434)392-6712, (434)392-4687
2. Call the District Disaster Response Team (DDRT) Coordinator: Rev. Mike Davis (804) 304-0256 or email MikeDavis@vaumc.org
3. Call the Conference Disaster Response Team (CDRT) Coordinator: Responsible for contacting Bishop for drive-thru within 72 hours to one week. Contacts UMCOR if needed: Rev. Rob Pihlerantz, (757)482-2364, (757)389-5721, (757)408-6653
To Get Information
1. Call the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen: (1-800-768-6040) for the Conference Disaster Response Center number.
2. Look for e-mail announcements on the conference Urgent Net.
3. Visit the Conference Website, www.vaumc.org for news updates.
4. Visit the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Website, http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/getconnected/resources/
March 29, 2017
Letter from Forrest White, Long-term Recovery Manager and UMVIM Coordinator
Everyone: I hope this finds you well and blessed.
Five weeks have passed since my last update on the Virginia Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry, so there is much to cover.
The Conference will wrap up our recovery efforts for the February 2016 tornado outbreak in Essex County (Tappahannock) and Sussex County (Waverly) by the end of April or upon completion of current projects.
Moving forward, help for survivors in both areas will come via the federally funded Community Development Block Grants program, which since 1982 has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Thank God for working through our ministry in both areas, as we have sought to demonstrate Christian Love in Action (I John 3:18) to individual survivors and the communities!!!
Our recovery ministry will continue in Appomattox County (Evergreen) until completion of two new construction projects currently in progress and an additional three new construction projects, one of which will begin soon.
Amazing Witness – Today, Rick Carroll of Bethlehem UMC Moneta delivered a check for $57,500 from the church to cover all material costs for construction of one of the three remaining houses in Evergreen. Rick, Rev. David Lord, and the other mission leaders at Bethlehem UMC took it upon themselves to ensure a family that lost everything in the tornado will have a new house to make their home, and the BUMC church family responded to the call in resounding fashion. In addition to this generous financial gift, the church has sent multiple teams to work on houses, with plans to serve again in April. Thank you, Bethlehem UMC. What an example you have set; what a blessing you are to a family of survivors and to each of us!!!
Hurricane Matthew Recovery - As you know, in January the Conference moved out of the relief phase (muck out of flooded homes) of disaster response into the recovery phase (repairing damaged homes) in Virginia Beach. Work has moved along at a steady pace since then. We anticipate being engaged in flood recovery ministry in Hampton Roads through 2018, if funding allows.
Financial Support – We continue to seek donations to help cover costs of remaining projects in Tappahannock and Waverly, as well as projects in Evergreen and Hampton Roads. In addition, as I’ve said from the moment our tornado recovery began last spring, we must be diligent about seeking funds to ensure ministry presence when future natural disasters come our way. (Hurricane Matthew hit less than eight months after the tornado outbreak; only God knows what will come our way in the future.)
Checks to support our Disaster Recovery Ministry are made payable to “Virginia United Methodist Conference” with Advance #5037 in the memo line and mailed to the VAUMC Treasurer’s Office, PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA, 23058.
Two churches – Evergreen Baptist and Bridgewater UMC – have committed to our Wall of Giving/Walls for Living fundraising campaign. Please let me know if I can help your church with this campaign or any fundraising effort for disaster recovery. I am available to speak on Sunday mornings at worship and throughout the week.
Waverly Work Teams - We’re seeking teams to help us complete work on the home of Trenika Stringfield. As of today, these dates are open: April 3, April 7-14, April 17, April 24-25. Please send me an e-mail if you’d like to schedule a team to serve on an open date.
Virginia Beach, Evergreen Work Teams Needed – We have the following dates open for mission teams. (You don’t have to commit to an entire week. I am simply listing open dates.) April 17-22, Virginia Beach, May 15-20, Virginia Beach, May 22-24, Evergreen and Virginia Beach, May 31-June 3, Virginia Beach, July 30-August 2, Virginia Beach August 7-12, Virginia Beach, August 20-26, Evergreen, August 27-September 2, Evergreen and Virginia Beach. Most of the fall weeks are wide open, with the exception of a week or two. Again, send me an e-mail if you’d like to schedule a work team.
House Blessing - On April 22, a Saturday, at 11 a.m., we will gather at 1832 Kino Road in Tappahannock to bless the new house of Lewis Johnson. We would love to have you join us to celebrate what God has done.
Thank You - We’ve been blessed to work alongside amazing servants in the Waverly and Tappahannock communities over the last few months including:
First and foremost, the tornado survivors. They have set an example of faith and resiliency in the aftermath of great loss.
- Rev. Dr. Rob Colwell, Superintendent of the James River District, who played a key role in helping us establish the Dendron work center for team housing and in securing funding for recovery
- Rev. Steve Snodgrass, pastor, and the congregation of Waverly UMC, for weekly worship services and for modeling radical hospitality
- Rev. Gary Edens, retired pastor of First Christian Church in Richlands, N.C., who has volunteered extensively in Waverly
- Art Cox, a member of Warsaw UMC, and Dee Watkins, a member of Chester UMC, who gave countless hours to the critical case management component of recovery
- Rev. Roy Foster, pastor, and the congregation of Upper Essex Baptist Church Tappahannock, who opened up their facility for team housing and modeled radical hospitality
- Valerie Prince of the Essex County Long Term Recovery Group (ECLTRG) who coordinated lunches for all of our work teams that served in the area, a massive undertaking, and the Essex County churches (several denominations) that contributed lunches and occasional dinners
- All the members of the ECLTRG, who came together after the tornado and have set a standard for all future long term recovery groups under the leadership of The Rev. Dr. Candine E. Johnson, Priest-in-Charge at St. John’s Episcopal Church Tappahannock
- Tim White, retired Marine and former contractor, Rev. Teresa Smith, and the people of New Hope UMC Fredericksburg who have given countless hours to completion of Mr. Johnson’s house
- Last, but certainly not least, all the work teams that came to serve.
Disaster Recovery ministry is the church at its best.
It is being the witnesses Jesus calls us to be. (Acts 1:8)
It is Christian love in action.
Please keep the survivors, our staff, and all of our servant volunteers in your prayers.
Our challenge is big. Our God is bigger!!!
May God bless your journey,
Forrest White, The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Richmond, Virginia, cell: 804-938-1026, Virginia UMVIM Facebook page
To Become a Volunteer
There are several options, among them:
1. Contact the Conference Disaster Response Center (see above)
2. Contact your District Superintendent
3. Contact your DDRT Volunteer Coordinator
District Disaster Response Committee
|Rev Robert J. Parks, Jr.||434-392-4687(o)|
|Rev. John Jones||434-623-2320||johnjones(at)vaumc.org|
|Rev Timothy Beck||434-676-2600||revtimbeck(at)vaumc.org|
|Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator|
|Rev Robert M. Pihlcrantz||757-408-6653(c) |