Photo: Faithful United Methodist Church in Saint Amant, LA (southeast of Baton Rouge)
August 19, 2016
Dear St. Paul's family,
As you know, our neighbors in Louisiana have experienced extreme damage and loss due to recent flooding. Bishop Cynthia Harvey of the Louisiana Conference says, "This flood is of Katrina proportions; it's Katrina without the wind."
St. Paul's is coming alongside our neighbors in Louisiana to offer help and support during this difficult time. Here are three ways we can respond:
Bishop Harvey has identified these specific prayers. Let us pray for...
- Those still trapped by rising waters
- Those yet to be affected
- First responders who have left their own flooded homes to rescue others
- Children who have difficult questions with difficult answers
- Government officials--may they get the rest they need
- Our churches--may they respond with the grace of Jesus Christ
There is an immediate need for financial contributions to help with supplies and recovery needs. We will be collecting donations for Louisiana this Sunday in all three worship services and will continue receiving your contributions for the next several weeks. You may bring your donation to the church or can make your donation online. Please indicate your giving with "Louisiana flood relief." At the recommendation of our own Bishop Huie, we will send these donations to the Texas Annual Conference for transfer to the Louisiana Annual Conference.
City and church leaders in south Louisiana have made pleas to surrounding areas for work teams to come to the hardest hit places to help with cleanup. Serving as a hub for volunteers, First UMC Baton Rouge is actively sending out teams each day to help residents clean out their homes. Time is of the essence because the August heat and humidity can cause mold to grow very quickly. Soon a salvageable home becomes a health hazard.
Because our neighbors are in need of immediate help, we are coordinating a team from St. Paul's to go to Baton Rouge Thursday, Aug. 25 - Saturday, Aug. 27. If you are able to go on this quick trip, please email St. Paul's Director of Missions, Amy Taylor, for more information. Likewise, if you are interested in going to Louisiana to help but cannot go this time, email Amy Taylor about other opportunities.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. May God bless our efforts to serve and love our neighbors.
Director of Missions
St. Paul's UMC, Houston
Rev. Tommy Williams
St. Paul's UMC, Houston
Rev. Scott Moore, executive director of the Texas Annual Conference Mission Center, reminds us that during and immediately after a disaster, what you do NOT do is often just as important as what you do.
- Do NOT take up a collection of items based solely on news or even personal reports from Louisiana. This would include clothing, shoes, diapers, food and water. Unsolicited donations can lead to a second disaster when an organization's infrastructure has been damaged as badly as Louisiana's has been.
- Do NOT contact churches in Louisiana directly with an offer to assist or send teams. Please allow the local churches time to respond to their local community, and please allow the conference and denominational response system to function.
St. Paul's UMC will keep you up to date on ways to help.