UMCOR celebrates 75 years of relief service
June 23, 2015 / By Rev. Jeff Childs
Thank you for your faithful response to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering designated for the fourth Sunday in Lent. This year, the churches of the Upper New York Conference gave $48,846.55 (between Jan. 1 and May 31) to help underwrite the administrative costs of the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). This means that when we give to mission projects or disaster relief, the administrative costs are already covered – 100 percent of our gifts goes to the mission and ministry. Thank you for your generosity.
For more than 30 years in my pastoral ministry, I have helped churches respond to disasters and special appeals. As chair of the Conference Global Ministries Team, I have been involved in helping the Conference respond to disasters, including hurricanes Katrina, Irene, and Lee, super-storm Sandy, and earthquakes in Nepal and Haiti.
However, this year I write as one who has been on the receiving end of the ministry of UMCOR.
On May 13, 2014, rains fell and flood waters rose in Yates County in and around the village of Penn Yan. Our new faith community, The Living Well, though flooded in the storefront location, set up shop in the Penn Yan UMC’s office building. It began handing out relief supplies and coordinating volunteers to help neighbors in need the very next day. Upper New York Area Resident Mark J. Bishop Webb called me and offered support. Soon after, a $10,000 emergency relief check was sent from UMCOR to help us.
After we ascertained there were more than 400 homes affected by the storm and flood, an additional grant was requested and received from UMCOR for $50,000. Volunteer-in-Mission teams, financial and prayer support, clean-up buckets, health kits, and necessities came in from across the Conference. Now, one year later, Penn Yan and Yates County are virtually restored, and the mission and ministry of the 12 United Methodist churches in Yates County and The Living Well new faith community are going strong and still helping our neighbors.
With your help and the help of UMCOR, we are connected and able to do more together than we can apart. On behalf of our community and our communities of faith in Yates County, thank you for your support. I invite you to watch this video and see how we are all a part of UMCOR. Happy Anniversary!
The Rev. Jeff Childs is pastor at the Penn Yan UMC.