Bishop Al Gwinn calls on the North Carolina Conference for help in his letter about Hurricane Irene. For more information on relief efforts, please see the Hurricane Irene Response post and the response updates on the Outreach Ministry pages. Donate online to relief efforts by clicking the “Hurricane Relief Donate Now” image on the right.
August 30, 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
You are aware as I that news reports have shown the destruction our brothers and sisters in the Eastern portion of the North Carolina Conference have experienced. Earlier this week, Joyce and I, along with Elizabeth City District Superintendent Richard Stone, saw first-hand how lives are being stressed to the point of breaking as families face recovery and ultimately rebuilding from Hurricane Irene’s destruction. My heart broke as I visited and worked in several locations. A couple in their senior years were trying to remove water-soaked items from their home. These items of furniture and mementoes from years past will no longer provide the couple with comfort, security, and support. This couple was so tired and exhausted, it was difficult for them to even put one foot in front of the other as they worked to make their residence livable. When we offered to assist them with removal of a tree blocking part of the way into their home, it was as if we had offered them an unexpected and wonderful gift. It took four of us to remove a section of pier that wind and rain had driven into their home. This couple was doing all they could and needed our physical assistance, our spiritual support and our prayers.
Many of our pastors have reported damage to their church and parsonage and within their congregation. Our District Disaster Response Coordinators are working on learning the conditions of churches, pastors and church members in areas where there is no telephone service. Electric service has not been restored in these areas as it has not been restored in areas where situations are known.
Christ calls on us to provide comfort, support, and assistance to those who are suffering and in need. To do this, I am asking each congregation to take an offering as soon as possible to provide supplies and other needed assistance. These funds should be sent to: NC Conference, P.O. Box 60053, Charlotte, NC 28260. Please be sure to note Advance #S-00176 on the check. Every penny given to this Advance number will go towards storm response. Second, I ask United Methodists across the Conference to volunteer their time, gifts, and skills through our Conference Call Center to assist God’s children that are suffering from Irene’s destruction. Volunteers are needed in recovery and later in rebuilding. Call 888-440-9167 to volunteer, schedule a work team, or to donate supplies. Each day we learn of new and expanding ways to be the hands and feet of Christ. Please consider taking an offering and encouraging United Methodists in our conference to use their gifts as Volunteers for Christ.
Al Gwinn, Resident Bishop