Special Offering to be Taken for Disaster Relief
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
First and foremost, let me express my sincere thanks for your prompt and significant response to the devastating effects of Super Storm Sandy. Once again the connection of our church is a wonderful gift in the midst of tragedy and loss.
Locally, churches have poured their hearts into responding to those in need. First Saints Community UMC, for instance, gave an entire Sunday’s offering, totaling more than $20,000 to relief efforts and Ames UMC in Bel Air contributed $800. Our conference has created and collected hundreds of flood buckets, and emergency response teams are already at work helping people rebuild their lives. Your generosity and mission-spirit are to be commended.
But so much more is needed. A special appeal for funds has been issued by the Northeastern Jurisdiction and I wanted to make you aware of this new opportunity for giving. A special collection for those in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference whose lives were devastated by the storm will be taken on Dec. 2 or Dec. 9.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief has determined that the recovery from Sandy, which caused damage in the billions of dollars, will take approximately three to four years to complete.
According to Bishop John Schol of the Greater New Jersey Conference, “Great ministries are happening, but I do not want to underestimate what is ahead of us. I have traveled to most of the communities that have been significantly impacted and there is only one word to describe what I have seen, it is a DISASTER. Words cannot describe the devastation, chaos and the deep emotional impact Superstorm Sandy is having on many people. I want to assure you, while there are many challenging times ahead, God will see us through as we rebuild a future with hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
With this in mind, the Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops is initiating a special offering for the New Jersey Annual Conference from their sister annual conferences in the Northeastern Jurisdiction. This offering will be put together into one gift from the annual conferences of the Northeastern Jurisdiction and presented directly to the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. When a disaster of this magnitude strikes, UMCOR suggests that an annual conference set up their own special fund in addition to gifts provided to the Advance. This offering will be sent from the NEJ annual conferences to that fund.
When you make your gift, please note “New Jersey Hurricane Relief," on the check and send it directly to the Conference Treasurer at the BWC Mission Center, 11711 East Market Place, Fulton, MD 20759. Time is of the essence. We hope you will mail your gifts as soon as possible.
Thank you once again for your spirit and your willingness to respond to our sisters and brothers in need. The Baltimore-Washington Conference has always demonstrated “love in action.” Please know you are an answered prayer to those in need.
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Marcus Matthews