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Hurricane Updates


On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast. Storm surges and Category 4 winds caused significant flooding and damage, devastating the southwest area of the state and beyond. While we are still assessing the damage, at least 100 churches in our Conference have been impacted at varying levels.

Your prayers and financial support are welcome to assist with our response to this disaster.  All gifts will be used to support the mission of local churches most directly affected by the storm, and will be distributed by the cabinet under the supervision of the Conference Committee on Finance & Administration.

Click here to give

Click here for Ian update 10/10/2022

Click here for Ian update 10/6/2022

Ministry Protection Post-Hurricane Ian Insurance/Claim Update

This webinar covers:

  • The Florida Conference’s property insurance program, and applicable coverages
  • Claim reporting procedures
  • What you can expect from your adjuster
  • Nuggets of wisdom


Hurricane Ian update 10/25/2022: FEMA Webinars for Houses of Worship

Upcoming Informational FEMA Webinars

Hurricane Ian Applicant Briefing for Houses of Worship

Houses of worship and religious nonprofit organizations may be eligible for FEMA’s public assistance program to cover the costs for emergency protective measures, debris removal, and repairing or replacing facilities damaged during a federally declared disaster. The State of Florida, Division of Emergency Management will present FEMA's Public Assistance program's application procedures, administrative requirements, funding, and eligibility criteria as well as information specific to our Houses of Worship (HOWs).

Register for an upcoming webinar here →

FEMA Houses of Worship Webinar ft. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz (It is important for all churches who received damage [even minimal] to attend.)

Dr. Geoffrey Lentz -- who in 2018 was the pastor of Port. St. Joe UMC, now Senior Pastor of FUMC Pensacola -- became the Alabama-West Florida Conference's go-to person in working with FEMA after Hurricane Michael. He raised $20 million for Port St. Joe and additional millions for other churches in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael. He has offered to come and work with pastors and churches in the process. It is important that this work starts soon.

Dr. Lentz will join us for Zoom call on Wednesday, October 26 at 2 p.m. We ask each church, if possible, to attend the Hurricane Ian Applicant Briefings for Houses of Worship before attending the Zoom with Dr. Lentz. They are held each afternoon at 3:30 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Trish Warren at or (863) 661-4939.

Join the Zoom Call here →

A Conversation with Trish Warren & Rev. Debbie Allen

Florida Conference Co-Lay Leader Alice Williams recently sat down with Trish Warren, the conference disaster recovery coordinator, and South West District Superintendent Rev. Debbie Allen to discuss how local churches and communities are managing after the storm, God moments in the midst of chaos, and what you can do to help (and not hinder) the Hurricane Ian recovery effort. Click the image above to watch the video.



Hurricane Ian update 10/13/2022: The Need is Great

Since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida a little over two weeks ago, the Conference has been responding to the needs of our local churches and their communities. Below is the latest list of needs we are encountering:

Trained Volunteers:

Emergency Response Teams are hard at work in the field, but more trained volunteers are needed. An in-person Basic ERT Training is scheduled for Saturday, October 15, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at First Lakeland UMC. Click here to register.

We are looking for additional churches to host Basic ERT Training. Once we have confirmed host churches and dates, training will be posted online for registration. If you are interested in hosting, please contact Jill Hockin:


Materials Needed:

The following supplies are needed for our ERTs:

  • Cleaning supplies (Borax, dish detergent, Calgon, etc.)
  • Plywood – ½ inch
  • 1x2 furring strips
  • Tarps
  • Large truck to tow 10 ft trailers in Ellenton area

Contact the call center at 855-228-3862 if you are able to donate these materials.


We are seeking volunteers to canvass neighborhoods to share our call center information. Click here for a flyer for distribution. This will help us determine where ERTs are needed and where we may need to do long term recovery. 

Churches aware of their specific community's needs can submit this information to Kelly Milner at so our teams can support you during recovery.

Distribution Sites

Churches in Osceola, DeSoto, Hardee, Sarasota or Manatee county that can house ERTs or be a distribution site for cleaning kits, hygiene kits, water, etc., please contact Jill Hockin: jillhockin@gmail.comFor housing ERTs, we are requesting

  • Showering facilities (optional)
  • 2 rooms to house volunteers
  • Access to cooking facilities

The need is great, and it is widespread.

We appreciate the support you have given this ministry.

To receive Disaster Recovery ministry updates via text message:

Text the word disaster to 844-635-1026.


Hurricane Ian update 10/10/2022: Info on Public Assistance for Churches

We are encouraging houses of worship and nonprofits to join FDEM Public Assistance Applicant Briefings for Private Nonprofits. Please see the below links to register for the Applicant Briefings for Hurricane Ian.

Private Nonprofits (PNPs)


Monday, Oct 10, 2022 2:00 pm | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Register Here

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2022 9:00 am | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Register Here

Wednesday, Oct 12, 2022 2:00 pm | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Register Here

Thursday, Oct 13, 2022 2:00 pm | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Register Here

Friday, Oct 14, 2022 9:00 am | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Register Here

Additional resources for houses of worship seeking to navigate the FEMA Public Assistance process developed by the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and FEMA include:

  1. FEMA and SBA developed a What Houses of Worship Need to Know About the FEMA Disaster Aid Process Flyer |  The attached flyer available in English, Spanish, French, German, Haitian Creole, Korean, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. This might serve as a great compliment to the awesome FL PA 101 for Private Non-Profits Document
  2. We are working on additional infographics intended to help reduce the complexity on the Public Assistance Process as well, these will also be translated in multiple languages. Once finalized I’m happy to share for dissemination.
  3. FEMA co-developed FEMA Public Assistance for Houses of Worship - YouTube a short video providing two perspectives from faith leaders about the public assistance process, this is available for anyone to use and share
  4. On August 16, 2022 – the DHS Center, SBA Office of Disaster Assistance and FEMA Public Assistance co-hosted a webinar on the Public Assistance Program for faith-based organizations and private non-profits. You can access a recording of the presentation here, because it’s in adobe connect all files can be downloaded and shared as well.
  5. (Invitation) On October 13 the DHS Center, SBA and FEMA Public Assistance will be hosting a national webinar in Spanish on the Public Assistance Program for Houses of Worship, attendees can register here: Recursos del Programa de Asistencia Pública de FEMA y Agencia Federal de Pequeños Negocios (SBA) para Casas de Adoración y Organizaciones Sin Fines de Lucro. (


Hurricane Ian update 10/6/2022: Six Ways You Can Help

The Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry is actively responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Ian's devastation among our churches across the state. Your prayers and financial support are welcome to assist with our response to this disaster. All gifts will be used to support the mission of local churches and communities most directly affected by the storm. 

Here are six ways you can help those in need across the state as we begin to rebuild.

  • Pray. Continue to lift the impacted in prayer. 
  • Give online to the Hurricane Ian Fund FLUMC.ORG/IAN 100% of gifts will be used to support the mission of local churches most directly affected by the storm, from staff salaries to housing for those displaced to insurance deductibles and more. This fund will also support the rebuilding of local communities throughout Florida. The donations will provide much-needed resources for survivors of Hurricane Ian.
  • Give online to UMCOR US Disaster Response and Recovery, advance # 901670. Funds sent to UMCOR can be used for any US disaster, not just Hurricane Ian. 
  • Call the Disaster Recovery call center at 855-CAT-FUMC to volunteer or share post-storm community needs. The disaster call center is open to anyone that has request for assistance, request for material supplies or other resources. It is also the number to call for offers to volunteer, make a financial donation or any desires to offer your services. This number is open to all people in our Florida communities. Call the Disaster Recovery Call Center at 855-CAT-FUMC (855-228-3862).
  • Volunteer for the Early Response Team (ERT) Recruitment and Deployment Thank you for your interest, support, and willingness to serve. The Hurricane Ian response is constantly evolving, and we appreciate your patience as we determine the most effective way to safely help those impacted. FLUMC is currently:
    • setting up Basic ERT and Recertification ERT classes, online (see below)
    • securing volunteer housing
    • working with county leaders to coordinate work
    • Basic ERT Training – In Person
      Saturday, October 15th – 8:00 – 4:00 at First, Lakeland 
      Register here.                                           
      We are looking for additional churches to host Basic ERT training. Once we have confirmed host churches and dates, training will be posted online for registration.
      If you are interested in hosting, please contact Jill Hockin.
      IMPORTANT: If you recertify or take a basic class, you will be expected to deploy with a team over the next 2-3 months, or as long as ERTs are needed in the affected communities. If you know you will not be able to deploy during that time, please wait for future classes.
      ERT Deployment Process
      • Experienced ERTs willing to serve as Team Leaders in the next 4-6 weeks should contact Tom Vencuss and include the dates you are available to lead. Reminder that a full ERT trip/deployment is 5-days: 2 days of travel, 3 days of work.
      • Once Team Leaders are identified, names, deployment dates and contact information will be emailed. 
      • Those available to serve can contact the appropriate team leader directly to sign up for that deployment.
      • When a Team Leader has a complete team, the Team Leader with work with Tom Vencuss for work location assignment and final deployment details.
      • All questions about ERT deployment should be directed to Tom Vencuss.
    • Watch this page for updates and graphic images to share on social media.

Thank you for your continued support. We are grateful for the power of our United Methodist connection!


Dear Church:

Based on the forecasts from the National Weather Service and all relevant hurricane models, Hurricane Ian is predicted to come ashore in the Gulf coast region of Florida sometime Wednesday night, September 28, or Thursday morning, September 29, 2022.  And may affect a large section of the state.
This communication is to remind you of pertinent information and resources related to the storm.
Florida Conference – Ministry Protection
Comprehensive pre-storm preparation booklet
Hurricane preparedness quick checklist
Hurricane Response and claim information

If we have damage from the storm, those claims will be handled by a professional adjusting company that specializes in catastrophe claims.  Claims will be prioritized by the catastrophe response unit based upon the extent of damage and an adjuster will be dispatched to your location as soon as possible.
If your church is damaged by the storm, please take all necessary measures to mitigate further damage to your facility.  Please note that you do not have to wait for the field adjuster to arrive at your location to dry out your facility or to make temporary repairs.  Keep all receipts for any temporary repairs and photograph or video all damage and have this documentation available for the adjuster.

If there are needs in your community after the storm, please contact Florida Conference Disaster Recovery, using the CAT hotline (855- CAT-FUMC or 855-228-3862) to report community needs.  We have trained volunteers who can assist with clean up, tarping, debris removal, etc.
Your connectional partners in Ministry Protection and Disaster Recovery are here to assist you as we all recover from what Hurricane Ian may bring.
Prayerful Blessings,

Department for Ministry Protection and Disaster Recovery Ministry
Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church