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

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

August 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 Governor Reynolds, approximately one-third of the state’s corn crop was affected, and she has issued disaster proclamations for 23 counties.
The huge losses that many families and businesses have experienced have been compounded by COVID-19, an uncertain economy, and children and youth returning to school virtually or in person. As United Methodists, our mission is to extend the love of Jesus Christ in tangible ways to our neighbors, wherever they are. I am deeply grateful to Catie Newman, our Disaster Relief Coordinator, for organizing the relief effort and who will also be sharing ways in which you can help or receive help.
Dear God, we are in awe of the power of nature to change our lives in a moment’s notice. We thank you that human injuries from the derecho were limited, but we mourn our losses: damaged homes, flattened cornfields, lost income, and uncertainty about the future. Grant us the resources and strength to rebuild, direct us to those who need our help, and give us hope for the future. 
Bishop Laurie


Dear Friends,
Many communities in the state of Iowa are beginning the long process of recovery after the derecho on August 10, 2020.  
Many of you have volunteered to help and there are (and will be) many opportunities to volunteer in the days and weeks to come.  
Information about how to get help and how to volunteer to help can be found on each of your community’s websites (you can use Google to find the community in which you would like to get help or volunteer). Soon the state will have a “One-Call” number for everyone to use to request help or to offer to help. As soon as that number is available, we will publish it.
Other ways today to help are:

  • PRAY. It is in prayer that we unleash God’s power for one another.
  • CALL. Make a phone call to friends and loved ones in storm-affected areas to check on them (lines of communication are slowly opening up, keep trying!)
  • VOLUNTEER. Check with the community in which you would like to volunteer by checking their website or Facebook page for updates and needs. Please do not “just show up.” Make sure that they are ready for volunteers and have a job for you.   
  • GIVE FINANCIAL DONATIONS. To help those in need, donate through the Iowa Annual Conference Disaster Response Committee. All funds given to Advance Special #223 go to support recovery efforts by UMC Churches in communities effected by storms in Iowa.
  • DONATE. There will be a time when physical donations will be needed.  PLEASE WAIT until you know what is needed (what has actually been asked for) and give only those items to the requesting organizations.  

Churches (please, only churches at this time) who need help from one of our Chainsaw Teams with cutting trees and hauling branches, please contact our Chainsaw Team Coordinator Pastor Andrew Happ at 319-241-0223 (call, text, or leave a message) or email him at [email protected]. Individuals who need chainsaw help, please call your church or pastor. (Pastor’s please make a list and contact Pastor Happ with your needs.)

If you need Clean-up Buckets or other clean-up supplies, please contact me, Pastor Catie Newman, IAUMC Disaster Response Coordinator at  [email protected] or 712-899-4067 (call or text). 


Rev. Catie Newman