Prayers and Giving: North Georgia Responds to Irma

9/18/2017

Photo: Stained glass from Trinity on the Hill UMC, Augusta, which served as a Red Cross shelter for Hurricane Irma evacuees.
 

Updated September 18

Our Conference Disaster Response Team is currently assessing how we in North Georgia can be of assistance in our own communities, and is in daily communication with the Red Cross, GEMA, FEMA, our neighboring Annual Conferences, other faith partners and non-profits following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma to ensure our efforts are coordinated and effective.

Initial reports across our conference include widespread power outages, fallen tress, and debris. Two North Georgia Conference church buildings had tree damage and one church office was destroyed by a tree in the storm. Please continue to use caution and follow the direction of first responders in your community.

We will be gathering damage assessments and mobilizing resources in the days to come. Thank you for the outpouring of generosity we've already seen and for all that we know is to come!
 

Priorities: Praying and Giving

As the North Georgia Disaster Response Team coordinates across the Conference and across the connection, two priorities continue to rise to the top: Prayer and UMCOR funding. 

Donations can be made to UMCOR through any North Georgia Conference United Methodist Church. Clearly mark "UMCOR: US Disaster Response" (Fund Number 4390) or "UMCOR: International Disaster Response" (Fund Number 8430). Or give online at UMCOR's website
 

Mission Teams: SGA Calls for Badged ERTs

In our state, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma left its worst impact in Coastal Georgia. The South Georgia Conference is looking for current ERT (Early Response Teams) and trained chainsaw teams to help in Chatham and other coastal counties.
 
Lodging can be arranged in local churches; however, teams may need to cook their own meals or use local restaurants.
 
Interested teams can contact:
Luis O. Morales, MPS-EM, BSN
South Georgia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator
Email: morhilll@gmail.com
(478) 216-7729

Please do not self deploy to Florida or other regions affected by Irma. Each Annual Conference will issue an invitation when it is appropriate for ERT teams or volunteers from our Conference to respond. 
 

Relief Kits

Congregations from across our Conference have sent UMCOR Relief Kits and muck-out material to satellite/hub receiving sites. This week those supplies will be transported to the regional Decatur, Ala. warehouse, then on to the location where they are most needed. 

Please contact a satellite location before delivery as most have begun transport of supplies and are no longer receiving kits or buckets as of Friday, Sept. 15:
  • Trinity UMC Rome, 606 Turner Mccall Boulevard, Rome, GA 30165-2718
  • Gainesville First, 2780 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506
  • Athens First, 327 N Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30601
  • Covington First, 1113 Conyers St., Covington, GA 30014
  • Cannon UMC Snellville, 2424 Webb Gin House Road, Snellville, GA 30078
  • Powder Springs UMC, 4329 Marietta St., Powder Springs, GA 30127
  • Wesley UMC, 825 North Belair Rd., Evans, GA 30809
  • Trinity on the Hill UMC, 1330 Monte Sano Ave., Augusta, GA 30904
  • Thomson First UMC, 353 Main St., Thomson, GA 30824
  • Elijay First UMC, 75 McCutchen St., Ellijay, GA 30540
  • Hillside UMC, 4474 Towne Lake Pkwy., Woodstock, GA 30189
  • Barnesville First UMC, 375 Thomaston St., Barnesville, GA 30204
  • Cornerstone UMC Newnan, 2956 Highway 154, Newnan, GA 30265
  • Conyers First UMC, 921 Main St, Conyers, GA 30012
Relief kits will be transported from churches to the regional UMCOR warehouse in Decatur, Ala. next week. 


Training

UMCOR Early Response Team Training will be held Saturday, September 16, in room S215A at Mount Pisgah UMC, south campus, 9820 Nesbit Ferry Rd., Johns Creek.  The class will start at 7:30 am with registration and take approximately six hours. Lunch will be provided. The cost is $20 cash or check. Everyone wishing to serve in this disaster relief ministry is welcome. Those who already hold an ERT badge and wish to renew may do so by joining the class at noon to participate in the final review and the certification test. RSVP by email to jimlakin@comcast.net.

The 2017 Southeastern Jurisdiction Disaster Academy will be held September 26-29, 2017 at Central United Methodist Church in Ashboro, NC. For information and details, please click here. To register, click here

UMCOR Early Response Team (ERT) Training and Care Team Training will be held Saturday, October 14, at Roswell UMC led by Rev. Thom Shores and Rev. Chip Wilson. The ERT class will run from 8:30 am to 4 pm with a break for lunch.Care Team will run from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Anyone needing recertification-only needs to attend from 8:30 to noon. Cost for ERT first-time or recertification is $10 (pay onsite by cash or check) for the background check. There is no cost for Care Team Training. Register at www.rumc.com/ert

UMCOR has a need for volunteers in the Atlanta headquarters to help make badges for dedicated early response team members, particularly as many more get trained in the coming weeks and months. Volunteers will meet one day a month, from approximately 10 am to 2:45 pm at the UMCOR Headquarters in Atlanta. Find more information at www.ngumc.org/newsdetail/local-umcor-volunteer-opportunity-8715594
 

Hospitality on Display

North Georgia United Methodist hospitality was on display in the past week. Trinity on the Hill UMC in Augusta was quickly activated as a Red Cross Evacuation Shelter as Irma approached the US. They reached capacity at 170 guests. Trinity on the Hill is a model of effective coordination and communication. As Tropical Storm Irma warnings were issued in North Georgia, Douglasville First UMC, another well-prepared and disaster-ready congregation, was activated as a shelter for Georgians in the path of the storm. Salem Campground's Hotel, which normally operates seasonally, opened for evacuees on I-20. 

Jackson UMC members saw heavy traffic through their town as evacuees routed off I-75. They opened the church for drivers to rest, re-charge devices, use restrooms, and have snacks and water. They delivered sandwich trays to their local fire department.

In communities with wide-spread power outages, churches opened later in the week for charging devices, play ground and coffee — Social Circle UMC, Decatur First UMC, Neighborhood UMC, and Glenn Memorial UMC each opened to neighbors. 

Where did you see United Methodists in action? Email communications@ngumc.org to let us know!
 

Update Archive: Before the Storm

“O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home."  
Read Bishop Sue's prayer as Hurricane Irma churned toward her home state of Florida. 

September 10, 1 p.m.
 
Sunday, Sept. 10, the governor of Georgia expanded the state of emergency from southern Georgia to now include all 159 counties. 

The North Georgia Conference offices will be closed Monday and Tuesday, in response to the announcement.

In a state-wide disaster response call today, it was emphasized that even as we prepare to serve our neighbors to the south and west, it is important for everyone to be personally prepared and to encourage everyone in your congregation and community to prepare for severe weather. Find preparedness information at https://ready.ga.gov. 

If your church doesn't already have a communication plan in place, develop a plan for how you'll check on church members and neighbors -- especially the most vulnerable. With strong wind and rain there could be large-scale power outages, so plan for that possibility for your church and yourself. 

Shelter for Evacuees

As our neighbors in Florida, South Georgia, and along the east coast brace for Hurricane Irma, a number of churches have reached out to ask how to best serve evacuees who may be headed to North Georgia. 

One answer is clear: The best way to help is to be in contact with your local Red Cross and local emergency management.

The following churches are open as shelters in North Georgia:

Douglasville First UMC
6167 Prestley Mill Rd., Douglasville, GA 30134
Open Monday, September 11, at 9 a.m.

Trinity On The Hill UMC Augusta
1330 Monte Sano Avenue, Augusta, GA 30904
Open Friday, September 8, at 3 p.m.
www.trinityonthehill.net/disaster-relief 

Salem Campground - Covington
3940 Salem Road, Covington, GA 30016
Contact Wayne & Kim Hicks at 770-786-6841 for availability and information
​Open Now
http://mailchi.mp/33c8e53b8f49/campmeeting-2017-beyond-1291237

The Red Cross has issued an urgent request for volunteers to help as shelter staff. If you are interested and willing to volunteer, you may be needed. Learn more at www.redcross.org/hurricane-irma-volunteer-application. There is a "just in time" training being offered in Augusta at 6 p.m. Friday evening. 

If your church isn't coordinated as shelter, it would be best advised to volunteer with the established evacuee shelters or Good Samaritan shelters in your community. 

While several churches have asked about opening as a shelter, that is not something that the North Georgia Conference can authorize. It is crucial to only open as part of the community's emergency response plan. 

Many North Georgia Conference churches have taken the steps in advance to be approved Red Cross shelters and several are on standby expecting to be activated Friday or Saturday. Quest UMC in Augusta is serving as an evacuation site for a Family Promise program in an evacuation zone. 

A host of churches who have long served as Red Cross shelters and have taken the steps to be "disaster ready congregations." The process takes time and preparation, including an extensive survey of the property taking into consideration square footage and showers. ​Perhaps the most recent church to become certified is The Nett at Berkmar UMC. They just received a copy of the contract they signed with the Red Cross to become a shelter if needed. 

We will continue to update through ngumc.org as we know more of how the churches of the North Georgia Conference can respond following Hurricane Irma. 

Prayer and Giving

As the North Georgia Disaster Response Team coordinates across the Conference and across the connection, two priorities continue to rise to the top: Prayer and UMCOR funding. 

Donations can be made to UMCOR through any North Georgia Conference United Methodist Church. Clearly mark "UMCOR: US Disaster Response" (Fund Number 4390). Or give online at UMCOR's website.

Relief Supplies 

UMCOR has let us know that there is a need for Relief Supplies. Find assembly instructions at www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies. If your church is assembling Relief Kits, contact Terry Raymond. He may be reached at terry767@bellsouth.net.

In addition to UMCOR Relief Kits, please consider donating items for muck-out listed below. NOTE: UMCOR can accept only new items for distribution.
  • Box fans (To dry out houses following flooding.)
  • 25’ heavy duty 14 gauge extension cords (To move the fans around inside a home)
  • 2 gallon garden sprayers (To fight mildew and mold)
  • Flat billed shovels (Remove mud, wet carpet, pads, sheet rock insulation, etc.)
  • Rakes with 3” tines (Remove tree limbs, leaves and muck from inside homes and yards)
  • Wheel barrows (2 wheels, so they will not turn over going to the street)

Congregations are invited to send UMCOR Relief Kits or muck-out material to satellite/hub receiving sites (below). Those supplies will then to be transported to the regional Decatur, Ala. warehouse, then on to the location where they are most needed. 

Satellite locations receiving buckets/ kits/ and requested supplies during weekday business hours:
  • Trinity UMC Rome, 606 Turner Mccall Boulevard, Rome, GA 30165-2718
  • Gainesville First, 2780 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506
  • Athens First, 327 N Lumpkin St, Athens, GA 30601
  • Covington First, 1113 Conyers St., Covington, GA 30014
  • Cannon UMC Snellville, 2424 Webb Gin House Road, Snellville, GA 30078
  • Hamilton Mill UMC, 1450 Pine Rd., Dacula, GA 30019
  • Powder Springs UMC, 4329 Marietta St., Powder Springs, GA 30127
  • Wesley UMC, 825 North Belair Rd., Evans, GA 30809
  • Trinity on the Hill UMC, 1330 Monte Sano Ave., Augusta, GA 30904
  • Thomson First UMC, 353 Main St., Thomson, GA 30824
  • Elijay First UMC, 75 McCutchen St., Ellijay, GA 30540
  • Hillside UMC, 4474 Towne Lake Pkwy., Woodstock, GA 30189
  • Barnesville First UMC, 375 Thomaston St., Barnesville, GA 30204
  • Cornerstone UMC Newnan, 2956 Highway 154, Newnan, GA 30265
  • Conyers First UMC, 921 Main St, Conyers, GA 30012
Don't see a drop-off location near your church? Look out for a date mid-September to bring your kits to a central intown-Atlanta location for transport to the Alabama warehouse.

ERT Teams

Please do not self deploy to Florida, South Georgia, or other regions affected by Irma. Each Annual Conference will issue an invitation when it is appropriate for ERT teams or volunteers from our Conference to respond. 

Training

UMCOR Early Response Team Training will be held Saturday, September 16, in room S215A at Mount Pisgah UMC, south campus, 9820 Nesbit Ferry Rd., Johns Creek.  The class will start at 7:30 am with registration and take approximately six hours. Lunch will be provided. The cost is $20 cash or check. Everyone wishing to serve in this disaster relief ministry is welcome. Those who already hold an ERT badge and wish to renew may do so by joining the class at noon to participate in the final review and the certification test. RSVP by email to jimlakin@comcast.net.

The 2017 Southeastern Jurisdiction Disaster Academy will be held September 26-29, 2017 at Central United Methodist Church in Ashboro, NC. For information and details, please click here. To register, click here

UMCOR has a need for volunteers in the Atlanta headquarters to help make badges for dedicated early response team members, particularly as many more get trained in the coming weeks and months. Volunteers will meet one day a month, from approximately 10 am to 2:45 pm at the UMCOR Headquarters in Atlanta. Find more information at www.ngumc.org/newsdetail/local-umcor-volunteer-opportunity-8715594.

I serve as North Georgia Conference disaster response coordinator and may be reached at scott.parrish@ngumc.net.

—Rev. Scott Parrish
Associate Director of Connectional Ministries
Disaster Response Coordinator

 

Related

Bishop Sue's Prayer as Irma Churns Toward Her Home State of Florida 
Prayers for All in the Path of the Storm: Responding to Harvey 
Visit umcor.org


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