United Methodist churches among those affected by California fires
Oct. 24, 2007, UMNS
By Kathy L. Gilbert
United Methodist families are among those who have lost homes in the raging wildfires that have consumed large portions of
Two families in the
“The good news is that we have heard from all of our pastors and none of them have lost their parsonages,” said the Rev. Myron D. Wingfield, superintendent of the
Wingfield said they will continue to monitor Julian and Camp Cedar Glen because they are still in possible danger from the fires.
Pastors and congregations of at least five United Methodist churches are among the more than 500,000 who have been evacuated and two or three families have been waiting out the disaster in Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, Wingfield said.
“I spent the morning at Qualcomm Stadium with Rev. Dick George and Rev. Donna Ford of
“We have heard comparisons between the fires and Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “But that is so unfair.
United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson,
“As fires rage across
Swenson said the United Methodist Committee on Relief sent an emergency grant of $10,000 to the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference for use in the relief/recovery process.
“Your local congregations can participate and make a real difference,” she said. “First, I ask that everyone be in prayer: Pray for the firefighters, pray for those who lost homes and businesses, pray for the evacuees, pray for the animals that have been displaced, pray for those whose loved ones are in harm’s way, and pray for the leaders who are working on fighting the fires and recovery efforts.”
Secondly, she said the best tool of direct relief is money. There are two ways to designate gifts:
Gifts designated for the “Bishop’s California Fire Appeal” will be used directly and immediately at the district and local level. Make checks payable to the local church and put “Bishop’s California Fire Appeal” in the subject line.
Gifts given to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will go directly to UMCOR and be combined with gifts from across the country for their in-depth and long-term response in the months ahead. Make checks payable to the local church with “Advance Special #901670’ (Domestic Disaster Response California Wildfires) in the subject line.
Churches are to send corresponding total dollars and descriptions for each of these as appropriate on the monthly remittance form, line 23 for Bishop's Appeal and line 28 for UMCOR.
“In addition to an emergency grant to support the conference in its initial efforts, disaster response consultants are at the ready to provide the conference with their presence and guidance as needed,” said the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, head of UMCOR’s domestic disaster response.
“As always UMCOR offers its prayers and support to those in need,” said Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s chief executive. “We ask for your generous donations to the domestic disaster response advance as recent emergencies have depleted the funds we use to provide relief and support in disasters such as these.”
Wingfield also said the feeling of the United Methodist connection has been a blessing.
“We have the sense that our United Methodist family around the country is keeping us in God's grace. That's a huge comfort at a time like this.”