Our Conference Minister, the Rev. Mike Denton, hears the questions and concerns of the UCC churches in the pacific northwest.  Often, especially in light of national tragedies, themes emerge.  Check out this response from Mike as he responds to the question many UCC churches are asking, "How can we respond to those affected by Superstorm Sandy?"

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Hi sisters and brothers;

Many of you have been asking whether the UCC is accepting funds for those effected by the east coast.  Here's the link for those congregations or individuals that would like to donate.

This Superstorm is on track for being the 2nd most costly storm in US history (Katrina was the most expensive).

The Conference Ministers of some of the areas effected are still not able to contact a few of the churches that were in the path of the storm due to loss of communications infrastructure.  In other instances pastors and church members have not yet been allowed to access damage to their homes or church buildings due to the mandatory evacuation orders for some communities.

Most of you know that I regularly write prayers and share them on a blog.  Here is one written in response to the storm devastation and this week's lectionary reading from Ruth.  I know many, if not most of you, have already have finished your bulletin this week but, obviously, recovery from this storm will be continuing for years.  Please consider sharing your storm related liturgies with each other through this listserv.

A couple people have already asked whether or not our conference might be able to organize work trips to the East Coast in the same way our conference shared time and monies with some of those effected by Katrina.  If you are called to help organize such a trip, please contact me directly at revdenton@gmail.com .

Please keep our sisters and brothers in your thoughts and prayers.

Peace.  Mike

UPDATE

Hi sisters and brothers:


I just received this email moments ago from Forence Coppola, UCC Executive, National Disaster Ministries:

"Friends,As you can imagine, thousands of CWS kits have been transported to States impacted by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy.  Please consider this "hands on" project and share with local churches as something they can do now for people in need.  Kits needed in order of priority:

  • Clean up buckets
  • School kits
  • Baby kits
  • Personal care kits
CWS kits web link

The UCC is sending $5,000 as an initial response to a CWS Appeal to help with transportation costs of items.  Thank you for your faithful commitment to disaster ministries.
Peace,
Florence
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In light of this call for help, some actions to consider:

  • Please encourage your church to help figure out a way to pull some kits together.  Many churches regularly host special parties to pull these kits together but is there a way you might include this work as part of your worship?  The UCC worship materials for the next couple of weeks focus on the lectionary readings from Ruth.  The themes of these readings focus on issues of recovery from tragic circumstance.  How might a church construct these kits as a liturgical act?  Please share your suggestions and plans.
  • If you are attending or hosting an election night gathering, maybe you could make collecting the materials for these kits a part of that night's activities.  Churches usually do not host such gatherings but this could be a good way to give people in your community an opportunity to gather around a common concern in a year of divisive political campaigning.  This could be a great ecumenical and inter-religious activity. 
  • Consider becoming a collection center in your community for these materials.  Ask people to bring the specific materials named in the link and name specific times people are invited to put these kits together.

The level of need is becoming increasingly clear.  This is one simple way you and your community can help.
Peace.
Mike