Dear South East District Friends,
I write to you this day with two words on my heart. 1. Grateful. I am grateful for the sun that shines, for dry floors in my home and for our churches that worshiped yesterday without the disruption of storms, leaks and power outages. 2. Convicted. I am convicted in my need to turn my gratitude into action as we utilize our resources to assist our sisters and brothers whose lives and sacred worship spaces are devasted due to Hurricane Ian.
Perhaps you have felt these and other feelings over the last several days. It has been excruciating to watch the news and read developments on the west coast of our state as well as countries dear to us like Cuba. Our Florida Conference leaders in disaster response have been doing a tremendous job of assessing the damage, supporting the communities and directing our response. As many as 150 United Methodist churches sustained damage during this storm, not to mention parsonages, homes, schools and businesses in our many communities.
Please be on the lookout for ways you can help. Currently, I encourage you to receive an offering in your local church for our Florida Fund. The link is here: Hurricane Ian Response and Recovery (brtapp.com) Donations may also be made to UMCOR. The work of UMCOR is intended to support natural disasters all around the world and Florida will receive support from UMCOR. The Florida Conference fund will ensure we can offer support to churches and persons who fall outside of the parameters of UMCOR support. And, ultimately, our greatest hope is that we can raise significant dollars to provide as much relief as possible. Working together, we can do this!
Please do not hesitate to reach out with specific questions for how you or your church can help. We will be forthcoming as we learn of Conference efforts to donate, volunteer, assist and collaborate.
May our prayers continue for the people most in need.
Grace and peace,
Cynthia D. Weems