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Disaster Response


Rural pastor comes alongside parishioners after derecho

Rural pastor comes alongside parishioners after derecho

9/18/2020
This is the final installment of a series of Faith In Action reports on how churches, ministries, and people from the Iowa United Methodist Church are making a difference and changing lives following the derecho disaster in August 2020.  On August 10, 2020, a derecho damaged an area nearly 800 miles wide throughout the Midwest, with the highest winds recorded at over 140 miles per hour in and around the Cedar Rapids area.  Barns and sheds had been torn open and exposed to the elements. Silos ...

After the derecho, Shueyville UMC identifies ministry opportunities and develops stronger relationships

After the derecho, Shueyville UMC identifies ministry opportunities and develops stronger relationships

9/10/2020
This is the fourth in a series of Faith In Action reports on how churches, ministries, and people from the Iowa United Methodist Church are making a difference and changing lives following the derecho disaster in August 2020.  The derecho storm that tore through Iowa on August 10 became the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that members and volunteers at Shueyville United Methodist Church could come together and work in their community. “The derecho was oddly what we needed," said ...

September 4, 2020—Disaster Response Derecho Update

September 4, 2020—Disaster Response Derecho Update

9/4/2020
The August 10 Derecho Storm has devastated more than 150 communities and over 8,000 homes in Iowa. We have State Disaster Declarations for 27 counties and Federal Disaster Declarations for 11 counties. (More are in the application process.)    Many church buildings, parsonages homes, and businesses were damaged, some severely. Please consider reaching out to those brothers and sisters with notes, texts, calls, and prayers. If your buildings were damaged and you have not spoken with your DS or ...

Willing volunteers power the Chainsaw Ministry Team following Iowa derecho

Willing volunteers power the Chainsaw Ministry Team following Iowa derecho

9/1/2020
This is the first in a series of Faith In Action reports on how churches, ministries, and people from the Iowa United Methodist Church are making a difference and changing lives following the derecho disaster in August 2020.  It is estimated that the city of Cedar Rapids lost 50 percent of its tree canopy as a result of the August 10, 2020 derecho. The derecho, with wind gusts of over 140 mph, devasted much of the city and surrounding areas. Since day one of the disaster, the Iowa United ...

Important Disaster Ministries Update - Crews and Donations Needed

Important Disaster Ministries Update - Crews and Donations Needed

8/20/2020
The August 10 Derecho Storm has devastated more than 150 communities and over 8,000 homes in Iowa.    Many church buildings and parsonages were damaged, some severely. Please consider reaching out to those brothers and sisters with notes, texts, calls, and prayers. If your buildings were damaged and you have not spoken with your District Superintendent or with Pastor Catie Newman, the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, please do so. They can help.  Churches (please, only churches at this ...

Important Disaster Ministries Update - Crews and Donations Needed

Important Disaster Ministries Update - Crews and Donations Needed

8/16/2020
The August 10, 2020, derecho storm has devastated more than 150 communities in Iowa.     The United Methodist Chainsaw Teams have been out since day one and will continue. In addition, chainsaw crews from other conferences are responding.  If you want to volunteer to help the Chainsaw Crews in the Cedar Rapids Area with hauling brush and clean-up. Please meet at the Hiawatha City Hall Parking Lot, Monday, August 17, 2020 at 9:00 am. Please wear long pants, long sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, eye ...

Bishop Laurie and Rev. Catie Newman provide a derecho disaster update

Bishop Laurie and Rev. Catie Newman provide a derecho disaster update

8/13/2020
Dear Friends,   Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I write this as thousands of Iowans are in the process of recovering from the dangerous thunderstorm complex or “derecho” that barreled through our state on Monday with up to 100 miles per hour winds.      As of Wednesday evening, major damage has been done across the state and 277,000 Iowans are still without power. The damage has included some United Methodist churches and parsonages. In addition, according to ...

Storm Lake Mabaan help family and friends in South Sudan

Storm Lake Mabaan help family and friends in South Sudan

6/23/2020
Submitted by Rev. Phil Webb Pastor at Storm Lake United Methodist Church Member, Iowa Conference Mabaan Flood Relief Fund Raiser Committee On the beautiful shores of Storm Lake, there is a community by the same name, rich in cultural and racial diversity. More recent arrivals that add to this wonderful city are people who have come here from the country of South Sudan. Many work at the two meat processing plants in town. Most of the 300+ South Sudanese in Storm Lake are from the Mabaan tribe, ...

Update on Mabaan fundraising effort

Update on Mabaan fundraising effort

6/12/2020
Submitted by Beverly Nolte, Chair, Iowa Conference Mabaan Fund Raising Committee It was June 2016 when Central District Superintendent Dave Weesner asked me to help find housing to relocate a South Sudanese pastor to Des Moines. The family, Aaron Limmo and Helen Lieti, along with their family of four, were to be the new pastor of a fast-growing Mabaan speaking Christian group in Des Moines with a smattering of Mabaans in Storm Lake and Omaha. The family arrived in August 2016 which began my ...

Fill the Truck 2020

Fill the Truck 2020

5/1/2020
We WILL be “Filling the Truck” for Midwest Missions in June 2020. Just a little different this year. Drop off dates and locations will be announced soon. For information, contact Pastor Catie Newman at Disaster.response@iaumc.org or 712-899-4067 phone or text.  The ongoing mission outreach at Midwest Missions continues and is busier than ever! In addition to Hygiene Kits, Student Desks and Sewing Machines (both pedal and electric) Midwest Missions has requested: Flannel, “PLU” (waterproof) and...

Mabaan Flood Relief fundraiser put aside at the present time

Mabaan Flood Relief fundraiser put aside at the present time

4/20/2020
Bishop Haller and the Cabinet have agreed that the Mabaan Flood Relief fundraiser should be put aside at the present time. With the disruptions of normal activities, financial stress on our economy, and churches unable to meet during the COVID-19 period, many are not able to respond to this fundraiser.   The Mabaan speaking tribal group number in the hundreds here in Des Moines. Their home country/county was ravaged by a 6-month long flood which destroyed their livelihood and homes. The Iowa ...

Hamburg UMC receives $30,000 from Iowa Disaster Ministries

Hamburg UMC receives $30,000 from Iowa Disaster Ministries

11/8/2019
Prayer for Continued Recovery in Hamburg, Iowa from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Prayers, hard work, and donations have poured into Hamburg, Iowa since the spring floods, and United Methodists were able to give church members some extra encouragement this week. Through giving across the connection, $30,000 from the Iowa Disaster Ministries Advance Special #223 was gifted to the church community for recovery.   “We came to support you, to love you, to care for you,” said Pastor Catie ...

Dorian response illustrates how UMCOR works

Dorian response illustrates how UMCOR works

9/19/2019
As the Bahamas and communities along the eastern coast of the United States begin to recover from Hurricane Dorian, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is assisting with relief efforts everywhere. This article by Global Ministries’ senior writer Christie R. House uses the Hurricane Dorian response to illustrate how UMCOR responds to natural and other disasters in countries around the globe as well as in the United States. Read about how before Dorian had even hit the Bahamas, UMCOR'...

Midwest Mission's relief arrives in the Bahamas

Midwest Mission's relief arrives in the Bahamas

9/17/2019
In anticipation of the hurricane season, Midwest Mission Distribution Center had pre-staged relief items such as personal dignity kits, rice meal packs, and linens at their partner's (Food for the Poor) warehouse in Jacksonville, FL. Following the devastation caused by hurricane Dorian those items were immediately put to use and airlifted to the Bahamas arriving on September 7. Food for the Poor has sent a request for other items for the residents of the Bahamas and Midwest Mission's would like...

UMCOR starts efforts for Bahamas relief

UMCOR starts efforts for Bahamas relief

9/16/2019
By Linda Bloom Sept. 5, 2019 | UM News How to help: Donations for the Bahamas can be made through UMCOR's International Disaster Response Advance #982450. Money from this fund is used to respond to disasters around the world. In the U.S., donate to the U.S. Disaster Response Advance #901670 for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. As Hurricane Dorian continued to threaten the U.S. east coast, United Methodists were connecting with Methodists in the Bahamas to start relief efforts. The ...

Glenwood pulls together to help

Glenwood pulls together to help

5/24/2019
Disaster Response in Glenwood and Pacific Junction from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Updated May 24, 2019 "This to me has been what it means to be the church and to be part of the connection," said Pastor Kimberly Bowles. "The calls from clergy across the conference saying, 'What do you need? What can we do? How can we help?" It's everything that I believe the church should be. To see your neighbor in need and say, 'What can I do?.'" Pastor Kimberly Bowles isn’t surprised at the way the ...

Hamburg Flood: Residents find strength through church, community

Hamburg Flood: Residents find strength through church, community

4/12/2019
Virginia Lynn, 93, has lived in Hamburg, Iowa, her entire life and not once experienced the floodwaters that have hit the town. Until now.   Lynn moved to the Park Washington Plaza apartments in July from the home she raised her family in after her husband passed away last January.   “I kept telling everybody I was so blessed because after I lost my husband my kids took me to visit, I sold my house and then I moved,” she said. “It’s just mind-boggling to me. I have literally lost everything. It’...

Prayers for victims of NZ tragedy and midwestern flooding

Prayers for victims of NZ tragedy and midwestern flooding

3/18/2019
Dear Friends, Over the past several days, two significant events have impacted the lives of people in New Zealand and right here in Iowa. On Friday, at least fifty people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, and more than fifty others were injured. It was the most horrific mass killing in the modern history of New Zealand, which is one of the safest and most highly developed countries in the world. The alleged perpetrator, an apparent white right-wing extremist from Australia, was taken ...

Pray…and be prepared to help

Pray…and be prepared to help

3/15/2019
“Pray, pray, pray,” asks Rev, Catie Newman, disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Annual Conference, in this time of widespread flooding across the State.    In the aftermath of winter snows, rising temperatures, and recent heavy rains, significant parts of Iowa are inundated by flood waters.  In fact, Newman, who is also the pastor of the Hornick and Salix United Methodist churches, had just 10 minutes to evacuate her home, something she said was “a little unsettling…I’ve talked about ...

Disaster Ministries: Update on Southern Storms

Disaster Ministries: Update on Southern Storms

3/6/2019
This weekend, severe storms made their way through Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. We have received reports of a tornado and other weather-related damage. As our partners continue to assess, we ask that you please do not self-deploy but wait for information from the conferences. We will continue to update you here and at UMCOR.org/response. For now, we invite you to pray with us for those affected, for hope and healing, and for the wonderful UMCOR network. Pastor Catie...

Cold weather safety update, Disaster Ministries

Cold weather safety update, Disaster Ministries

1/29/2019
Cold Weather Tips Record-breaking cold weather is expected all across Iowa Tuesday, January 29, 2019, thru Thursday, January 31, 2019. National Weather Service Forecast   For Your Vehicle Keep your vehicle full of gas. If you get stranded/break-down, stay with your vehicle. It will shield you from the wind. Have some emergency supplies in your vehicle: - Blanket or sleeping bag - Water - Snacks - Water - Hats, gloves, mittens  In Your Home or Church Open the cabinet doors under sinks to allow...

Coming alongside others in care

Coming alongside others in care

9/25/2018
Written by Rev. Nan Smith, Pastor at Marshalltown Hope UMC  On Thursday afternoon, July 19, when an F3 tornado roared through Marshalltown, the United Methodist Women here at Marshalltown Hope were putting the final touches on their annual fundraiser — a rummage sale set to open the next day. As our church had suffered no damage because of the storm, the women went ahead and opened the doors on Friday. However, as the reports began to roll in that morning about the extent of the tornado damage,...

Tornado season is upon us

Tornado season is upon us

6/5/2018
Tornado season is typically June through October for the Midwest states but tornados can, and have, struck in Iowa in every month of the year. Storms in Iowa can develop suddenly and move with great speed.     Hurricane season has also arrived and it usually lasts from June through November. We have already had our first named storm—Alberto, a sub-tropical storm—that brought heavy rain to the Gulf Coast, the Florida Keys, Alabama and Mississippi. Rain and wind from Alberto reached all the way to...

Disaster Response — prepare yourself and help you neighbor

Disaster Response — prepare yourself and help you neighbor

5/1/2018
Hurricanes. Flooding. Active aggressors. God watches over us, but disaster happens, and we need to be prepared and ready to help those around us. Here’s the latest on United Methodists helping in times of disaster, and what to do when disaster strikes.   UMC Helping in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico   United Methodists’ recovery efforts are ongoing in two Texas conferences (Texas Conference and Rio Texas Conference), Florida and Puerto Rico. It will take an estimated 10 to 12 years until ...

Active aggressor training and resources

Active aggressor training and resources

3/2/2018
There is no way that we can be prepared for everything that “could” happen but we can discuss and be ready for many things. In 2017, a total of 108 fatalities happened in places of worship in the United States. So far in 2018, we have 18 confirmed occurrences of guns in school with two of these resulting in fatalities. There is no “one” training or plan that will work for every church or community. Catie Newman, IAUMC Disaster Response Coordinator has compiled some resources to start the ...

Spiritual Care Trainings create listeners for everyone

Spiritual Care Trainings create listeners for everyone

10/31/2017
There are many devoted disaster response teams in the Iowa United Methodist community, but a new style of post-crisis care is emerging in the conference.   “Our whole motivation in disaster ministries is to be a caring, Christian presence in the midst of disaster,” said Rev. Catie Newman, the Iowa Disaster Response Coordinator. “Now, we'll have a Spiritual Care Team.”   The first of many Spiritual Care trainings was held at the Conference Office on Oct. 23. The training started from the ground ...

Disaster Ministries update

Disaster Ministries update

10/30/2017
The aftermath of Hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, Maria and the wildfires in the West have devastated enormous parts of the United States. The real work of recovery is just beginning and help in the form of volunteers will be needed for years.   Many of you have asked:  How can we help?  Can we go?   When can we go?  What do they need?  Here are a few of those answers. On Friday, October 20, 2017, UMCOR held a conference call with the Conference Disaster Coordinators with updates regarding our ...

Iowans generous in disaster response

Iowans generous in disaster response

10/17/2017
Iowa United Methodist communities of faith were very generous in their giving to disaster response in September.  Giving from 155 congregations amounted to $59,386.41, of which $3,952.93 was designated for an international response and $55,433.48 for domestic disaster response. In this difficult 2017 storm season, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been particularly attentive to the devastation in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  The United Methodist News ...

Clean-up buckets on the way to help

Clean-up buckets on the way to help

10/6/2017
On Monday, October 2, Addison Gaskin and Barbara Hartsock, two drivers for the family-run Weinrich Trucking business, stood in the parking lot of Altoona United Methodist Church, waiting to have their rig filled with nearly 400 clean-up buckets, plus boxes full of hygiene kits, that volunteers had assembled to help hurricane victims.  (Later in the day, more than 300 additional clean-up buckets were collected from First United Methodist Church in Marion.)  “It’s 53 foot long, and it’s about 8, ...

Cleaning kits are on the way

Cleaning kits are on the way

9/29/2017
“The final trucks that we’ve arranged so far, on Monday, will be picking up just under 2,000 buckets across Iowa and delivering them to Midwest Missions,” reports Rev. Catie Newman, who is the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Conference. “We’ve tried to get all the buckets into three locations so we just have three pick-ups for them that day.” Those kits will soon be helping people in the many areas ravaged by hurricane begin the overwhelming task of cleaning up, but of course there is...

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

9/29/2017
Photo credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Helping Disaster Survivors

Helping Disaster Survivors

9/20/2017
A Conversation with Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Catie Newman The sheer number of natural disasters in recent weeks has been overwhelming. Hurricanes have wreaked havoc in the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and now Puerto Rico, while wildfires have raged out west. “Everybody really wants to do something to help when we see those pictures of folks surrounded by devastation,” says Rev. Catie Newman, the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Annual Conference. “And ...

Big changes at UMCOR and for next year's Ingathering

Big changes at UMCOR and for next year's Ingathering

9/19/2017
By Audrey Young, Iowa’s General Secretary for the Iowa Board of Global Ministries It may be a good idea to bring all leftover bulk items for kits to our 2017 Ingathering, rather than holding anything over for 2018, as is the custom of some local churches. “We have been assured UMCOR will accept all of our kits from our 2017 Thanksgiving Ingathering this year. The book for next year, 2018, will reflect the changes,” stated Dan Houston, Iowa Ingathering Chairperson. The first big changes already...

Hurricane Harvey Response Update

Hurricane Harvey Response Update

9/2/2017
Answers to Most often asked Questions and Kit Shipping Information With so much press and different reports from the aftermath and response efforts in Texas and Louisiana figuring out how we can help can be confusing. Here is the most up-to-date information that we have from UMCOR, and our plans here in Iowa. SHIPPING PLANS: We have already sent 1000 Clean-up buckets to Texas thru the UMCOR system.  Our next shipment will go out on Monday, September 18, 2015.  Your kits will need to be ...

Bishop Laurie on Hurricane Harvey

Bishop Laurie on Hurricane Harvey

8/27/2017
A PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP LAURIE Our collective hearts are heavy as we watch the news about the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas and parts of Louisiana. There are two things we can do: pray and act. I invite you to use this prayer that Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference has shared. Oh God, we need your help. We need the rain to end, the floodwaters to recede, the damaging winds to stop. We need fortitude to cope with this disaster. We need love to share with ...

Spring weather brings Spring storms: Tips to stay safe

Spring weather brings Spring storms: Tips to stay safe

3/21/2017
As United Methodists in Iowa are praying and mourning over the storm damage in Muscatine and Seymour on Monday, March 6, the Iowa Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Catie Newman said now is the time to start thinking about spring weather.   “Spring is coming and with spring, comes spring storms,” she said. “It’s a good reminder and a good time to start thinking about preparedness.”   Iowa has already had its first major round of spring storms in Eastern Iowa. Three tornadoes were ...

Seymour UMC reaches out after tornado

Seymour UMC reaches out after tornado

3/14/2017
By Arthur McClanahan Seymour United Methodist Church is making a big difference in the southern Iowa community.  “They’ve been a part of the school system, sending volunteers in to read,” said Jamie Houser, the principal of the Seymour Community school.  “We’ve had a really good partnership with the United Methodist Church for several years.  It’s nice to have people in your community that work together to make sure that our kids are learning and having good experiences.” Click here to see an ...

‘It’s about making a difference’

‘It’s about making a difference’

3/9/2017
by Arthur McClanahan   March 6 was an active weather night across Iowa.  A round of heavy thunderstorms and lightning rolled west to east across the state along with gusts of damaging wind.  Funnel clouds were observed well off the interstate.  Hail struck homes and cars.   Click here to see photos from the Wesley UMC sanctuary Shortly after 10 pm things changed drastically in Muscatine.  A tornado touched down, demolishing businesses, taking the roof off an apartment house, and lifting and ...

Storms touch down in Iowa, Midwest

Storms touch down in Iowa, Midwest

3/1/2017
Violent storms tore across the Midwest Tuesday, February 28, 2017.  During the afternoon and early evening storms, hail and tornados hit Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana Here in Iowa, Tornados were sighted near Wollcot, Princeton Dubuque and  McCausland.  A Tornado touched down near Clinton.  Oskaloosa area had heavy rain, winds, and hail twice yesterday.  And we have reports of Large Hail in Iowa City At this time we have no reports of damage or injuries from these storms. Please pray...

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

6/27/2016
 From Rev. Becky Wilson, Coordinator of The Northwest Detroit Flood Recovery Project of The United Methodist Church. Brethren Disaster Ministries is doing great work on rebuilds and is also trying to assist with muck-outs but is in need of additional volunteers for muck-out teams. Currently the muck-out teams are working on about a dozen homes with projects that range in size from big to small. A UMC team that volunteered from Columbus, OH earlier in the spring was able to complete eight ...

Iowa Disaster Response update for January 2016

Iowa Disaster Response update for January 2016

1/13/2016
The month of December 2015 had many occurrences of storms, heavy rain, flooding, tornados and snowstorms in the Midwest and in Texas.   Here are updates on the disaster response efforts in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Texas and contact information if you want to help along with some suggestions as to what you can do right now. Pray for one another and our sisters and brothers in crisis. Make clean-up buckets to re-stock Midwest Missions. Make a financial donation to help in the recovery ...

Disaster Ministries Fall Update

Disaster Ministries Fall Update

11/2/2015
Morningside College students volunteer at their "Into The Streets" Mission day.

Preparing for storm season

Preparing for storm season

4/28/2015
Summer is coming soon, and in Iowa that means there is an increased likelihood of natural disasters. Wind, hail, floods, and fires all pose a potential threat this time of year, so it’s good to be prepared in the event of a storm or other incident involving the elements. To ensure that Iowans are ready for such an emergency, a new disaster preparedness initiative will be introduced at Annual Conference this year. The program addresses the basic questions that you should be asking yourself so ...