(View of the hill side that gave way near SR 530. A hillside in the Snohomish County community of Oso at SR 530 gave way on March. Pictured here is the side of the hill after the slide. Landslide photo courtesy of WSDOT, praying hands illustration courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)
pnwumc.org - By the Rev. Stanley J. Norman
Stan Norman serves as the PNW’s Annual Conference Disaster Response Team Co-Coordinator. Here is an update on how our United Methodists have generously responded to the Snohomish County communities affected by this disaster.
It is now Day 11 since the tragic mudslide in Oso, Wash. United Methodists have responded to their neighbors’ needs with their prayers and their gifts and their money.
Early in March, Disaster Response Coordinators from across the Western Jurisdiction gathered with UMCOR officials and trainers in Federal Way, Wash. for the first ever Western Jurisdiction Disaster Response Academy. We agreed at the Academy that we would help each other respond to disasters without regard to conference borders. Little did we know that we would be called on to use our training and honor our agreement in less than three weeks.
-EARLY RESPONSE TEAMS: Immediately after the mud stopped sliding, Jim Truitt alerted the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Early Response Teams (ERTs). ERTs go in after rescue efforts are completed to help stabilize homes and prevent further damage. Those teams are ready, anxious to help, and are waiting for the situation to stabilize.
-UMCOR GRANT: About five days after the mudslide, Bishop Hagiya requested an emergency grant from UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Within six minutes we received a $10,000 grant from UMCOR to help the victims of the mudslide.
-LOCAL UMCs: Our local churches in Darrington and Arlington are working with the other churches in the area to serve the needs of both the victims and the rescuers. They have become mission outposts in ways that they never expected to be. With highway 530 blocked by the mudslide, people who live in Darrington and work in Arlington and Everett are forced to drive an extra 100 miles each workday.
-PASTORAL CARE-GIVING: Pastor Sandi McCaulley at Darrington UMC will receive $1000 of the UMCOR grant to respond to the need for pre-paid gas cards until the highway is reopened. Another $1000 of the UMCOR grant is being offered to fund case managers through Arlington United. Pastor Deena Jones will coordinate with other local churches in Arlington to provide case workers who help families develop a plan to put their lives back togther. UMVIM Spiritual & Emotional Caregivers are being deployed to both Darrington and Arlington.
-YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED: It will take years for Oso to recover and United Methodists are in it for the long-haul. Please continue to pray for all those affected by this disaster. If you would like to donate to the relief and recovery effort, please support the conference disaster response fund. Your donations can be sent to the PNW Conference Treasurer:
PNW Conference Treasurer
P.O. Box 13650
Des Moines, WA 98198
Memo: “PNW Conference Advance Special #352″
The Rev. Stanley J. Norman serves as Co-Pastor at Sandpoint UMC in Idaho.