United Methodists are esponding to the massive earthquake that struck Haiti with aid, donations and prayers.
United Methodists jumped into action as soon as a massive earthquake reduced most of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince to rubble Jan. 12.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief immediately pledged to send teams, material resources and funding to Haiti as soon as possible. Special online-giving options went up, and church leaders throughout the world encouraged congregations to take up special offerings for earthquake victims.
“The situation is so dire,” said the Rev. Franck Aguilh, coordinating pastor of the Haitian United Methodist Church in Irvington, N.J. “There is no way internally for them to deal with it. The infrastructure is totally broken. I cannot even reach my family there. They don’t have the physical and financial means to deal with this disaster.”
Albany Area Bishop Susan W. Hassinger urged her congregations to take special offerings on Sunday for the relief effort.
“With many of you, I grieve over the news of the earthquake devastation in Haiti, the tremendous loss of life as well as damage to homes, hospitals, schools. I call on all persons to pray for the people of Haiti as well as for those who are and will be responding to this crisis,” she said. “I would hope that people would give generously, with contributions designated to be used wherever most needed in response to this tremendous need.”
United Methodists respond
A car damaged after an earthquake struck is seen in Port-au-Prince in this January 12, 2010 video grab. A major earthquake hit impoverished Haiti on Tuesday, toppling buildings in the capital Port-au-Prince, burying residents in rubble and causing many deaths and injuries, witnesses in the city said.
Donations are already coming in.
Support for relief efforts can be made to Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance # 418325. One hundred percent of gifts go to emergency efforts.
While rescuers continued to search for survivors, the American Red Cross estimated that the quake affected about 3 million people – one-third of Haiti’s population.
The United Methodist relief agency is ready to help.
“UMCOR has always had a strong presence in Haiti,” said Tom Hazelwood of UMCOR’s disaster-response staff. “With this tragedy, we’ll just be redoubling our efforts, and we’ll be calling on people across the country to help us.”
‘Don’t forget about Haiti’
Global Ministries missionary Rick Jost of the Dakotas Annual (regional) Conference has a long-standing relationship with Haiti
“The people of Haiti have suffered so much,” he said. “We need to respond.”
The problem of the natural disaster is compounded by systemic issues such as poverty and inadequate housing, Jost said.
“When you get a disaster (of this magnitude), it’s very frustrating because the underlying issues have not been dealt with. We wish people would not forget about Haiti once the dust settles,” he said.
The Rev. Molege Desir of Vailsburg United Methodist Church in South Orange, N.J., said hunger is a major problem in Haiti.
“And now there is this catastrophe so the need is even greater,” Desir said. “This is a good opportunity to reach out to people and to make a difference when the help is finally able to get there. I encourage the people of Haiti not to give up. We believe in God, and God will not let us down. Like the song says, ‘Our God is still on the throne and His love is steadfast.’”
--Dunlap-Berg is internal content editor
for United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.
There are more resource located at www.umc.org.
One Great Hour of Sharing offering, a United Methodist Special Sunday, enables the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to respond to disasters around the world by covering its operational and administrative costs. Unlike other mission programs, UMCOR receives no World Service or other apportionment money. By giving to One Great Hour of Sharing, you enable UMCOR to keep the promise that 100% of designated gifts go to specified causes. Please continue to give generously to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Your gift can make a difference in the lives of those who are hurting. To donate online, click here.