TAC Members and Churches Respond 'for Such a Time as This'
“You are an answer to prayer!”
These words have been voiced over and over again in various forms during the past weeks as United Methodist churches throughout the Texas Annual Conference have stepped forward to meet the needs of immediate and more distant neighbors facing wildfires within the Texas and Southwest Texas Annual Conferences. These wildfires have forced massive evacuations, destroyed homes, possessions, and property, and put the lives of firefighters, early responders, family members, friends, pets, and livestock at risk.
And yet, our churches continue to offer hope and support to the relief workers and those suffering from these fires. Read about the scenarios and see photos of members of Faith Bridge (Douglass), Wildwood (Magnolia), Linden, Lilburn, First UMC Teague, Pattison UMC, First UMC Jefferson, Avinger First UMC , First UMC Gilmer, Caldwell First UMC, First UMC Giddings, Navasota First UMC, Wesley Memorial, Huntsville First UMC, Hubbard Chapel, Henderson First UMC, Aldersgate UMC, Nederland First UMC, First UMC Humble, Memorial Drive UMC, and many, many other United Methodist churches who have been on the frontlines directly helping, housing, and feeding fire fighters, first responders, and evacuees, or collecting and distributing supplies and making themselves available in any way needed.
In addition, on September 11, churches throughout the Texas Annual Conference generously collected a special offering, reaching deep into their pockets to help the continued management of the fires while beginning to fund the immediate and long-term recovery that will be needed. Thanks to you, small grants are already being distributed to churches within our annual conference who are working in fire-impacted communities so that they can assist responders and victims immediately and effectively.
Most of the families and individuals who have lost homes and possessions either have no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover their unfathomable losses. These families and individuals are going to need significant help to rebuild. They are also going to need our loving reminder that God loves them and has not abandoned them.
As I write this article, I am proud to be a United Methodist. We are responding, and will continue to respond to those in need, because that is who we are. We did it after 9/11; we did it after three hurricanes – Katrina, Rita, and Ike; and we will do it again. As Methodist Christians, we give generously and tirelessly with Jesus as our example. We are a people called for such a time as this!
Thank you for your prompt, compassionate, generous, and tireless response. Please continue to pray, volunteer, and give. The Conference website will continue to be the hub for updates on how you can best help as circumstances and needs change. The latest information can be found at www.txcumc.org/wildfires.
Early Response Teams have been requested for the Bastrop fire area and these teams may also soon be needed in other areas as well. If you are ERT trained, please contact your District Disaster Response Coordinator to let them know about your availability. If you are not yet ERT trained, you will find the details about the training session offered on Saturday, September 17, also on the web pages featuring fire related news.
Because of the widespread devastation over much of Texas, additional financial resources will greatly be needed to help with ongoing relief and recovery efforts. To continue to make financial contributions, you can give through your local church or directly to the “Texas Annual Conference” and mark your gift, “Texas wildfire relief.” You can also give through UMCOR, advance # 901670.
I know we will continue to help meet the needs of these communities because we are already doing it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for being the answer to the prayers of so many! Keep up the good work and remember that the One who goes with us and works through us is the One who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think and will keep us until the day of Christ’s coming.