Harvey, Irma, Maria, earthquakes, wild fires, floods, tornadoes – these are just some of the natural disasters that have happened in the past few weeks. People are suffering; lives have been lost; damage to homes and infrastructure is overwhelming. This creates heartache and we wonder where is God in these catastrophes? Why so much devastation in a short amount of time?
Our Wesleyan faith searches for the grace in these situations. God’s prevenient grace means God does not punish us with death, but God’s grace is always open to us until the end of our lives. Those who die in these disasters are not being punished. It is a consequence of what is happening in the weather, where we are at the time of impact, how and where structures are built, etc. God’s promise of steadfast love means God is there in the rubble, in the waters, in the winds WITH us – never leaving us. God’s grace provides healing and restoration for communities through aid workers and construction teams.
The United Methodist Church we have UMCOR (United Methodist Committee of Relief) as one of the most powerful tools of God’s grace. UMCOR is one of the first aid organizations on the ground after a disaster and one that stays the longest. Through our tithe to the UMC (currently we are giving 5% of our total offerings to the general church) UMCOR receives support. Some of us send individual offerings directly to them too. We have donated items and packed heath kits, flood buckets and bedding kits in the past year which surely have helped during these recent disasters.
If you are looking for a way to be an agent of God’s grace in the aftermath of the recent disasters – here are some ways:
- Sign up for UMCOR updates at: umcna.org/disasterresponsesignup
- Give to UMCOR – the address is
P.O. Box 9068
New York, NY 10087-9068
*Check their website if you’d like to specify U.S. or International response
- Get trained to be a part of an Early Response Team (for future disasters) or a volunteer team that will be needed in the months ahead. I can connect you.
- Donate items for Tornado Buckets, which we’ll pack in October. Please sign-up for items before buying – the list is on the bulletin board.