Bishop Ward thanks churches for their generosity of time, gifts, prayers, presence, energy, and skills – during times of need and crisis.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
We, as United Methodist people, are always ready to engage when there’s need in the world. Mike and I returned to Mississippi for the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Our hearts were heavy as we remembered the great challenges, the great loss, the terror, the chaos of the early days. You, in the North Carolina Annual Conference, were wonderful partners in the recovery. You came offering your prayers, your presence, your energy, your skills – and as a result, thousands of families, thousands of households in south Mississippi, were able to be restored. Thank you for your generosity.
This photograph was taken by a Mississippi pastor after Hurricane Katrina, not long after. The beautiful flower had bloomed in the midst of debris, in the midst of great devastation, in Pascagoula. This picture we used during the long recovery as an image of the church alive in the world, of resurrection light, resurrection mission, resurrection faith, resurrection hope.
In these early days of September, we also remember another anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Camille Yorkey, a clergy member of our annual conference, who had herself been impacted by Hurricane Fran in Wilmington, and knew the personal, the spiritual, the psychological impact of a huge storm, volunteered to be a chaplain at Ground Zero. “A Voice in the Wilderness” is her recounting of her experiences in those first weeks after 9/11, fourteen years ago.
We continue to engage wherever there’s trouble in the world. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your gifts. Thank you for your efforts. You indeed are a means of grace.