Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. is asking members of the California-Nevada Annual Conference to hold in prayer United Methodists unaccounted for since a massive earthquake struck Haiti yesterday afternoon.
United Methodist Committee on Relief chief executive Sam Dixon, Clint Rabb, who is head of Mission Volunteers, and Jim Gulley, an UMCOR consultant, were in Haiti as part of an agency team visit with the Church in Haiti when the quake struck, and reportedly were in one of the buildings which collapsed. They have not been heard from since.
In addition, Volunteers in Mission teams from Texas and New Jersey - two of five conferences that had teams in Haiti at the time - also are unaccounted for.
The UMVIM teams from Michigan, Western North Carolina, and the Dakotas conferences all have reported in and say that they are fine, however.
The massive earthquake, worst to strike the region in more than 200 years, hit shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday, about 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. It "left the country in a shambles," according to a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist.
Bishop Brown asks prayer for those unaccounted for and their families; for United Methodists who have relatives in Haiti; for the Church in Haiti and all the people of that nation affected by the earthquake; and for UMCOR staff tasked with coordinating relief efforts, as well as those on the ground in Haiti.
At this time, however, congregations are asked not to organize relief teams.
"Additional people without appropriate coordination will not have a positive impact on the situation," states Bishop Joel Martinez, Interim General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries. He encourages congregations looking to assist to contribute to UMCOR Advance #418325, and to UMCOR's supply kits project.
"I am confident that the full resources of UMCOR and The General Board of Global Ministries will save lives and restore communities with the prayerful support of our United Methodist connection," he concludes.
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Read the LATEST STORIES about the Haiti disaster from United Methodist News Service (UMNS).