A representative of The United Methodist Church's California-Nevada Annual Conference was on hand in Fernley, Nevada on the evening of November 5, when residents gathered at City Hall to celebrate the rebuilding of their flood damaged homes.
Neal Williams, co-Lay Leader for the Conference's Nevada-Sierra District, joined Fernley Mayor Todd Cutler in accepting a check from Mona Sargent, of the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office in Carson City, representing a $60,821 USDA grant to assist low income households in Fernley.
The federal grant, the first of its kind in Nevada, was designed to let USDA partner with local faith-based and other nonprofit groups to restore affordable housing. It is being administered by the Nevada-Sierra District.
In addition, the CA-NV Conference successfully applied for two United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) grants for Fernley: a $10,000 emergency grant and a $60,000 grant to employ a Case Management Supervisor to oversee rebuilding. The Conference also provided $5,473.38 in contributions from 10 local churches and one individual donor, as well as participating in the recovery effort.
Although United Methodists do not have a congregation in Fernley, many Methodist volunteers have helped rebuild Fernley houses, laboring alongside members of Latter Day Saints, Baptist, Mennonite, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Community churches.
The first United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) recovery team from Cal-Nevada arrived in Fernley on May 31. Since then 10 teams, comprised of 92 volunteers from 15 churches throughout the Conference—South Reno UMC, Reno Grace UMC, Reno First UMC, Livermore Asbury UMC, Lake Isabella Highland Chapel UMC, Eureka First UMC, Sacramento Faith UMC, Lafayette UMC, Alamo San Ramon Valley UMC, Los Altos UMC, Santa Rosa First UMC, Modesto First UMC, Novato UMC Smith Valley UMC and Gardnerville Carson Valley UMC—have participated in the recovery effort.
At the November 5 ceremony, Mayor Cutler also expressed special appreciation for an unrestricted gift of $5,880 from Lutheran Disaster Response.
The Lutheran Disaster Response grant allows the local Long Term Recovery Team to meet needs in a flexible manner, as it imposes fewer restrictions than the federal grant.
Pastor Paul Theiss of Fernley’s Gift of Grace Lutheran Fellowship said, "Fernley has been blessed with an amazing outpouring of good will. People from all over the country helped us rebuild. Homes were damaged and lives disrupted, but our community is a better place for all this caring."
As a special message to Cal-Nevada, he added, "We deeply appreciate the help we received and are still receiving from our United Methodist sisters and brothers."
If you would like to provide support to this community—or for more information—please contact the CA-NV UMVIM office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-374-1582.