Bishop Ward, using words from the book of Job, gives an update on the North Carolina Conference response to Hurricane Florence.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
We continue to lament the great damage and hurt and harm caused by Hurricane Florence and so we find the appointed texts for the month of October especially helpful. They point us to the book of Job. The prose story is told in the first and last chapters – the story of a person, Job, who loses everything, his wealth, his family and his health. And between this prose bookend, the first and last chapters, there are over 40 chapters of poetry.
In the midst of this poetry, in Chapter 26:10 are these words, “God has drawn a circle on the face of the water at the place where darkness meets the light.” That image for me captures the spirit of our annual conference in these moments. We are at that point between darkness and light, bringing healing presence and help in eastern North Carolina wherever there has been devastation, damage, hurt and harm.
Thank you for all that you are doing. Gifts are flowing into the storm fund of the North Carolina Annual Conference. Thank you for those gifts and keep these gifts coming because they undergird our response. One hundred percent of the offerings that you send will be used to put in place a staff for the response and to welcome teams who will help repair homes for months and years to come. We have ongoing recovery from Hurricane Matthew that will be expanded in Lumberton, Fayetteville, and Tarboro to meet the new need. We will be establishing recovery centers very soon in Wilmington and the Sound district in several places and we will continue to work, pray and give together.
We give thanks for the wide connection of United Methodists and for all who have prayed, who have come to volunteer, and who continue to pledge their support into the future. We’ve partnered in the inland districts that were less hurt and harmed, with those districts that have experienced severe impact. In every way, we are seeking to connect those who have a need with those who can supply what is needed.
Thank you for all the ways that you are a channel of blessing.