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UMCOR Response to disasters and refugees

09.04.21 | Missions | by Jennifer Eschliman

    Dear RUMC family,

    The last week has been a heavy one for our country, and, I imagine, for many of us. As I write this, we are experiencing the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which has devastated much of Louisiana and other communities in its path. Just under a week ago, we witnessed the tragic loss of life of over 170 people, including 13 U.S. service members, in a terror attack at the Kabul airport. We pray for the communities that are forced to rebuild and for all who grieve today. As we feel the weight of others’ suffering, I’m reminded of something that Fred Rogers’ mother said to him as a boy. When he would see sad and frightening events on the news, she would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” In situations like these, I think that’s often where we see God’s mercy and healing at work.

    Earlier this year RUMC sent a collection of funds to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to assist with disaster relief here in the U.S. This was an expression of our care for our siblings in the western part of the country who have been facing the devastating effects of wildfires. UMCOR will no doubt be active in Louisiana as they recover from Hurricane Ida, so if you would like to support their ongoing work, you can donate to them directly online: https://advance.umcmission.org/p-620-umcor-us-disaster-response-and-recovery.aspx

    The Baltimore-Washington Conference has also published a number of ways that we can support Afghan refugees, as many of them fled their homes, taking nothing with them. Maryland expects to receive at least 180 Afghan refugees in the coming weeks as part of Operation Allies Refuge, a program that provides Special Immigrant Visas to people in Afghanistan who worked with the United States in fields such as translation/interpretation, security and transportation. There are several organizations that are helping refugees directly, including Church World Service and UMCOR. For opportunities to support these organizations, I invite you to take a look at the resources the BWC has compiled: https://www.bwcumc.org/article/ums-respond-to-afghan-refugees/

    I hope you’ll take the opportunity to be one of the “helpers” and to join in God’s healing and restorative work. I also hope you’ll join us for worship this Sunday as we wrap up our Lessons from God’s Neighborhood series and lift up our siblings in need.

    God’s peace be with you,

    Pastor Jen