Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, President of the Council of Bishops, is urging United Methodists to pray for the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan last week, and is encouraging support of relief efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
In a letter to fellow members of the Council of Bishops, he writes, "In times of immense loss and grief, we are reminded once again that God's grace is sufficient. While it does not offer us immunity from tragedy, it sustains us with healing and hope.
"At such times, the church is called to be a healing presence among those facing heartbreaking circumstances. I am confident that the people of The United Methodist Church will respond to the call with prayers and generous support for the victims of this catastrophe."
Stating that in times of disaster "we are especially grateful for the valuable ministry that UMCOR provides," with the help and support of United Methodists and others, Bishop Goodpaster expresses the hope that all UM churches will consider taking a special offering designated for Pacific Emergency, UMCOR Advance #3021317, to help provide UMCOR with sufficient financial resources to respond to the vast quantity of needs that we see unfolding in the wake of the disaster.
The bishop reports that UMCOR – working with its partners, the United Church of Christ in Japan, the Korean Christian Church, Church World Service, Global Medic, the National Christian Council, and the Asian Rural Institute – currently is focused on working to assess the damage to determine how best to provide assistance. UMCOR then will respond accordingly, he says.