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Responding to the southern Indiana tornado disaster

March 3, 2012

From Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner

Many congregations are wondering how to respond to the storms, destruction and loss of life that occurred in southern Indiana yesterday. While we are still assessing the losses, including the damage to church facilities, parsonages and of course the families in that area, we know that the Indiana Conference will need to mount a large Disaster Response.

Our conference’s Disaster Response Coordinator is the Rev. David Powell of Danville. He is working with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) representatives, as well as the pastors and District Superintendents involved. The damaged area is worse in the South District, but it includes the Southwest and Southeast Districts, too.

How can you help?

  • PRAY. Prayers are needed for all involved, and our Conference Prayer Coordinator, Shirley Saddler, is inviting us all to pray.
  • VOLUNTEER. Undoubtedly we will need Volunteer-In-Mission and other work teams later, once the damages are evaluated and plans are made to help the victims to clean up and rebuild.
  • GIVE. One thing that is always needed is money. Our Indiana Conference has a Disaster Response Fund with a small balance to provide some immediate support, but that fund will need to be multiplied many times in order to meet this need. So I invite each United Methodist congregation in the Indiana Conference to receive a special offering in the next few weeks and have your church treasurer send it through our normal channels to the Indiana Conference (using the Carol Stream address) and designate it for “Disaster Response.” Remember that 100 percent of those funds will be used for disaster relief. They will be used to help victims within and outside of our United Methodist congregations who have been directly affected by this disaster. In some cases the funds may also be needed to help our congregations with damage to their parsonages and church buildings, as well as support for our pastors and their families. The total amount of need is not known at this time, but our generous gifts to the Disaster Response Fund will be needed. Thank you.

Bishop Michael J. Coyner,
 Indiana Area of The United Methodist Church
“Making a difference in Indiana and around the world.”

Psalm 34:17, 18

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Father, we love you, and we cry out to you on behalf of all of the people who have been affected by the tornado outbreak today. Oh God, we pray and ask you to send your help to each person who is brokenhearted and crushed in spirit because of the losses that they have endured.

We see the news reports and can’t believe how much damage there is, so we ask that you keep everyone safe as rescue efforts continue to take place.

Thank you for the first responders who have had to act fast and with great courage, and for all of the people providing emergency help and care. Help families to connect with their love ones who are trying to reach them.

After all that has happened, there are many people, including little children, who are afraid. Send your peace into their lives. May your spirit begin the work of restoration and healing in the lives of the people in the communities that are suffering.

Lord, we want you to be glorified as your church rises up and joins with others to be your hands and feet to those in need. In the next hours and days, prompt us to pray, and as we pray, to be obedient to what you might call us to do. In Jesus name. Amen.

– Prayer by Shirley Saddler, Indiana Conference Prayer Coordinator

Links to other sources  Lead story “Tornadoes wipe out Indiana towns