When a disaster occurs—such as a tornado, flood or fire—the Minnesota United Methodist Early Disaster Response Team can be ready to go into the affected area within approximately three to five days. The bishop approves the deployment of a six- to 10-member team into a disaster area for up to 14 days to make homes and people safe, sanitary, and secure. Each team member participates for no more than three days without a break. If the deployment is longer than three days, team members will take a midweek/weekend break.
There are three main ways to provide disaster assistance:
1. Make a financial contribution: Disaster team training, response, and equipment are funded by donations from churches and individuals.
2. Join a disaster response team: Contact either Gary Bochman, the Conference's disaster response coordinator, or your district disaster response coordinators to learn about training for new team members or for local church disaster preparedness (see contact section below).
3. Assemble a kit to help people in disaster areas: Cleaning kits, hygiene kits, and school kits are sought by UMCOR. Learn more about kit assembly and delivery.
The Early Disaster Response Team has two fully-equipped trailers that can be moved into a disaster site. The presence and visibility of the trailer shows neighbors that people of faith are there to respond to their needs and that we do care.
Some of the churches and members of the Minnesota Conference have asked where to direct cash gifts. Please send gifts to the Minnesota Conference office. (See "make a financial contribution" instructions above.) The Minnesota Conference and its Early Disaster Response Team will determine the best use of these funds. Recovery efforts continue long after disasters occur, and gifts now will make a huge difference in the months to come.
You may donate to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in response to current disasters. One hundred percent of your donation supports disaster response in that area. Learn about the many ways that United Methodists are helping brothers and sisters in Christ through disasters by visiting the UMCOR website.
All 87 counties in Minnesota have been declared a federal disaster area at least once since 1965, according to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. It is easy to say, "It can't happen here!" But it can.
Preparation is the best response. Every church can be ready to respond and minister in the event of a disaster, whether it is of natural, technological, or human cause. Consider attending a disaster preparedness training event. Training teaches churches to be able to continue in the event of a disaster and to be able to serve as a resource in their own communities and surrounding communities in the event of a disaster.
Sign up for conference e-newsletters to see announcements of upcoming training events.
Download a brochure to print and share with information on Minnesota Early Response Teams.
Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Gary Bochman
firstname.lastname@example.org / 952-201-3688
District Disaster Response Coordinators
Big Waters District - Paul Baker, email@example.com / 320-455-7314
North Star District - open position
River Valley District - Tanya Oberg, firstname.lastname@example.org / 507-202-3769
Southern Prairie District - Brenda Allen, email@example.com / 507-779-5024
Twin Cities District - Kevin Schill, firstname.lastname@example.org / 651-925-6874
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church