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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Why I am trained as an ERT

    December 4, 2018 / By Mary Lou Buck

    Why would anyone want to be part of an Early Response Team? You get to travel a distance, work all day getting very dirty, and sleep on a cot or airbed in a room with strangers. You give up the comforts of home and your routine.

    Why would anyone choose that? I can assure you it is a wonderful, inspiring experience and one I choose to do several times a year because I come home having been enriched by the experience. You travel with Christians, some you already know and others soon become like family. Our daily devotions help to bring us closer to the Lord and keep us focused on the real reason we are there. You see God at work as the team witnesses through their love and work. We are able to bring hope to the families impacted by disaster.

     It is a place where there is no discrimination. Everyone’s skills are appreciated regardless of age, ability, or whether you are a man or woman. Members help each other and new skills are learned on every trip. The team members’ skills always seem to match the demands of the job. When assignments are given, no one asks the race or religion of an individual being helped because it doesn’t matter. They are all brothers and sisters in the Lord’s eyes. Hugs are feely given and received.

    As United Methodists, we are all connected. As we have traveled on ERT trips and needed a place to stay, an internet search and a phone call are all it takes to secure lodging. Early Response teams are trained to be self-sufficient, so we plan to prepare our own meals. Many times we are blessed by church family members supplying meals or desserts for us. Methodist church members are wonderful in providing the gift of hospitality.

    An Early Response Team is all about love. John 15:12 says, “Love each other as I have loved you.” This is what I see in the team members and local churches because love is freely given to everyone.

    Editor’s Note: One of the trips Mary Lou participated in was the November 2018 trip to Wilmington, NC. Click here to read more about that trip. Click here to learn about ERT trainings taking place across the Upper New York Conference.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 86 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."