Below please find the appeal from Bishop Bickerton for the Victims of Hurricane Fiona. We are answering Bishop Bickerton’s appeal by designating Sunday, October 16 for a special offering in support of UMCOR’s and our Conference’s response effort to Puerto Rico.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It was just a short five years ago that I wrote to you about the devastation that Hurricane Maria caused in the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico, killing thousands and triggering one of the largest blackouts in U.S. history. Our Annual Conference responded in a substantial way by generating resources, sending work teams and providing a strong sense of solidarity by praying for the communities affected by the storm.
Just a few days ago, Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico again, creating flooding, landslides, power outages and water shortages. The damage is still being assessed, but we have heard from our partners in Puerto Rico that the Southeast part of the Island is the most affected. Many roads are currently closed cutting off essential supply chains.
In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), our primary disaster response agency, provides support for relief supplies and other commodities. They are also prepared to offer additional support through funding, training, and project development once specific needs are identified. REHACE, a nonprofit organization of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, has partnered with UMCOR to provide immediate response in the communities. Currently, they are organizing Centers for those displaced by the storm and community dining rooms as they continue to evaluate the needs created by the storm.
I am asking that all our congregations designate Sunday, October 16, for a special offering in support of UMCOR’s and our Conference’s response effort in this area. Please send your contributions directly to the New York Annual Conference Center. Make your checks payable to NYAC and include “Bishop’s Appeal – Hurricane Fiona” in the memo line. Mail to:
The New York Annual Conference (NYAC)
20 Soundview Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606
Individuals can also donate online using our webpage:
Given the deep connections that New York Conference churches and communities have with Puerto Rico, I request that we make this response effort a priority for us as a Conference and for our local churches.
Rev. Nikki Hutt, our Conference Mission and Disaster Response Coordinator, will continue to monitor the situation and provide guidance in the specific and additional ways that we may be called upon to respond. When appropriate, we will organize the deployment volunteer recovery teams into the areas. As in any emergency situation, we must wait for the National Guard and first responders to take the lead. Our opportunity to organize recovery teams will and should only occur after receiving the appropriate clearances. We want to ensure that we maximize our efforts and the safety of our people traveling into the region. For now, the best way for us to respond is through this financial appeal.
Please intentionally pray for all those impacted by disasters throughout our country and the world. And once again, stay strong, keep the faith, and know that you are thought of, prayed for, and loved.
The Journey Continues, . . .
Thomas J. Bickerton
Resident Bishop, New York Annual Conference
President of UMCOR