Friends in the Florida Annual Conference,
Many of you watched with horror and disbelief as Hurricane Michael raged through the southeast. Our neighbors in the panhandle of Florida, located in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, have experienced catastrophic damage. The majority of the severe damage was located in the Marianna-Panama City District which includes areas such as Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, Panama City, Marianna and surrounding areas. The District Superintendent, Dr. Doug Pennington, lost his home. Many of the national news outlets have conducted their broadcasts from these towns.
We know all too well the shock and helpless feeling hurricane survivors are left with when the storms pass. After a weather event of this magnitude, there are many ways to help but monetary donations are crucial in the immediate aftermath. I am requesting that all churches in the Florida Conference take a special collection this Sunday or next. The money will be sent directly to the Alabama-West Florida Conference so that they can distribute it directly to those who need it most. In addition to damaged churches, many pastors and staff are faced with the difficult task of rebuilding. Some are faced with high deductibles to pay to even get the process started.
I invite you to give generously to our United Methodist brothers and sisters who desperately need our help. I have personally expressed our desire to help with Bishop David Graves, Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. He is most appreciative of our generosity and is humbled by this immediate action. Let us show our neighbors the meaning of our connection. I ask you to keep this conference in your prayers as they continue to assess the damage. I am grateful to each of you for your missional spirit and love. This denomination has proven that we are often at our best in times of need.
You may include these donations in the normal remittance process to the Florida Annual Conference using code 102080.
Bishop Ken Carter
Florida Annual Conference