Bishop Huie Consecrates New TAC Mission Center and asks for Support for Emergency Flood Response in Louisiana
When completed later this year, TAC’s new Mission Center will be the” hub of help” in time of need across Texas and beyond. Meanwhile, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie encourages donations to demonstrate extravagant generosity by funding flood relief efforts of the Louisiana Conference.
While the TAC Mission Center consecration was taking place in Conroe, Texas on Wednesday, August 10, a weather system simulating an inland tropical depression was forming over northern Louisiana. That “slow low” as it has been called, dropped 31.39 inches in one day, leaving thousands of homes devastated. Some say just three days of rainfall exceeded what Los Angeles might get in four years, with river heights hitting up to six feet over previous flood conditions. Meteorologists estimate the rainfall would fill over 10 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
Bishop Huie prayed a prayer of dedication on the new Mission Center on Wednesday, a place dedicated to emergency response and missional training-- and sent out a plea for $150,000 in flood relief funding just days later, on behalf of the Louisiana Conference. Shares Bishop Huie, “I have been in close contact with Bishop Cynthia Harvey of the Louisiana Conference and our neighbors there desperately need our help. Some of you may remember Bishop Harvey as she helped the Texas Conference in our efforts through Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. She is describing this situation as Hurricane Katrina without the wind.”
Bishop Huie’s mid-August appeal for a special offering asked clergy to communicate this real-time need to their congregations and included a bulletin insert featuring a poignant photograph of a coffin floating in front of a Methodist church in the flooded state. “The people of the Texas Annual Conference have always responded with extravagant generosity when they are called upon to help others,” she shares. “I am calling on that generosity now.”
In an update to denominational leaders over the weekend Bishop Cynthia Harvey calls this experience a “disaster of epic proportions.” Interstates 10 and 12 were closed for days, reducing the movement of relief workers and making a loaf of bread a coveted possession. She shares, “I was in a church on Wednesday hearing someone had found ONE loaf of bread in the entire town! There were cheers for the loaf of bread.” All who want to impact this widespread crisis can read these reminders about what NOT to DO, and can special offerings can be mailed to the T.A.C. Service Center, Attn: Treasurer’s Office, 5215 Main St., Houston, Texas 77002 and designated for “Louisiana Floods,” or give online at www.txcumc.org, Select the “Want to Contribute” button on the home page or go directly to http://www.txcumc.org/contribute.
New Mission Center Specializes in Disaster Relief
The almost-completed Mission Center sits on 5.8 acres in Conroe, Texas and will eventually house tools to aid in disaster relief in Texas and along the Gulf Coast. According to Rev. Scott Moore, Executive Director of the Center, it will also serve as a centralized location for training volunteers -- with easy access to interstates leading in all directions. “Having a centralized location for equipment and an inventory of prepared flood buckets,” he says, “will be so much more efficient than assembling what we need from a number of storage centers or church parking lots in a number of different locations. The warehouse portion of the center will have trailers in the ready position for deployment at a moment’s notice.”
Scott, a former police officer, was a frontline responder when Hurricane Rita hit Beaumont in the fall of 2005 and has since become even more passionate about this area of ministry. TAC volunteers have helped in the aftermath of the Bastrop wildfires, multiple Houston floods and East Texas floods, several hurricanes, and the explosion in West, TX.
The full-time Mission Center staff moving to the new site will be:
- Rev. Scott Moore, Executive Director
- Christine Riggle, Conference Volunteer Coordinator
Disaster Staff on Contract including Disaster Director Carol Greenslate, Case Manager Pyppa Johnson and Administrative Assistant Peggy Wieting will be balancing ongoing recovery work with Houston’s spring flood victims with any assistance needed by the Louisiana Conference.
While the new Mission Center has been in disaster response mode most of 2016, the Center will also be used as a Missions Academy which will develop curriculum and host ‘train the trainer’ workshops regarding human trafficking, immigration, poverty, community outreach skills, evangelism, as well as other missional and justice training. “We are excited about this additional ability that will enable us to train and deploy our laity throughout the Conference to teach and equip others on a number of critical fronts,” says Rev. Diane McGehee, Director of the TAC Center for Missional Excellence.