Faith Matters: Tornado Relief Efforts at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery


By Heather VacLav

Just as churches in our area helped Alabama's tornado victims in April 2011, they are again coming together with aid for those in Moore, Oklahoma.  


First United Methodist Church of Montgomery is being directed by UMCOR, The United Methodist Committee On Relief.
UMCOR is a nationwide humanitarian relief ministry, similar to the Red Cross, linking churches donations to help tornado victims in Oklahoma.
First UMC is one of thousands of methodist churches doing "all the good it can" to help.
"Oklahoma is so far away, but we're able to have people up there immediately, looking at the needs, coordinating with other organizations and telling us, the local churches what we can do," said Rev. John Blount, the minister of missions and outreach at First UMC.

In fact, when the 1999 Oklahoma tornadoes took a similar path of destruction, UMCOR was there for two years.

Blount says UMCOR works through the words of the church's founder, John Wesley, and is doing this "good" in Moore, Oklahoma, by the "means and ways" of people's donations.

"For instance right now they're saying please send finances, but in the future they're going to have more specific things that they need, like the cleaning buckets," Blount said. 

Cleaning buckets are part of the relief supply kits UMCOR sends to disaster areas, like Moore, Oklahoma, to help provide care for people in times of crisis. A detailed list of items, like sponges, trash bags, gloves, masks and cleaning solution are included to fit in a 5-gallon bucket.

UMCOR is still in the planning phases of finding the real needs of tornado victims. Currently it is asking for prayers and financial assistance, but will need supplies in the coming weeks.

Sarah McWilliams, who is the Chair for the work areas on missions at First UMC, says times of destruction can help bring the community closer to their faith by turning to God for help.

"What can I do to help? Because I know how helpless that we felt here and being able to offer a little bit of relief even if its in some small way, to touch a few lives, I think that is extraordinarily valuable," McWilliams said.

Which is why First UMC asks members to do all the good they can, in all the ways they can.

Money donations or "cleaning buckets" can be made at First UMC. 100 percent of money donated goes to victims in Oklahoma. 



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