Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
I greet you in the name and spirit of the risen Christ. Our brothers and sisters in many areas across Minnesota are suffering the devastation of severe storms and flooding. The securities of food and shelter have become a challenge for many. Governor Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency in 35 Minnesota counties and has activated the Minnesota National Guard. Damage assessments are now underway.??
The Minnesota Conference requested and received an emergency grant of $10,000 through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). These funds will provide a start to the recovery efforts that are needed.
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 (122 W. Franklin Ave., Ste. 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404) and write “MN disaster relief” on your check so that your contribution can be recorded and used for its intended purpose. 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.
Another way you can help is by volunteering in storm-damaged areas that are seeking volunteers. At this time, a number of counties and cities are looking for volunteers to help with sandbagging. Visit the websites for individual cities and counties to learn more about whether help is needed and how to get involved. For your safety, the Minnesota Early Disaster Response Team asks that those wanting to help only go to areas that are calling for volunteers and to be sure to sign up before deploying.??
The Minnesota Conference’s Early Disaster Response Team is always looking for more volunteers, and the next training session for new volunteers will be offered on Sept. 26, 6:30-9:30 p.m. and Sept 27, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., at Belgrade Avenue United Methodist Church, North Mankato. Contact Gail Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-230-6125) if you would like to attend this training.
Psalm 46:1-3 reminds us that we can be a powerful witness—that the work of Christ redeems, heals, and renews people and communities. Extend your generosity to those in need, and lift up in prayer the victims of storm-damaged areas.
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Bruce R. Ough
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church