Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Bishop's Appeal for South Georgia Hurricane Recovery
"I rejoice that the people of North Georgia are so generous and so willing and able to help in any kind of catastrophe."
—Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson
As we partner with our neighbors in South Georgia recovering from Hurricane Michael, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson encourages North Georgia Conference churches to collect a special offering. Watch Video Message from Bishop Sue.
North Georgia Conference Fund #3743
has been established specifically for our support of the South Georgia Conference recovery effort.
There are two ways to give:
- Donations may be made to any North Georgia Conference United Methodist Church by marking your gift for the "Bishop's Appeal for South Georgia" or Fund #3743.
- Donate online at www.ngumc.org/DonateNow.
Read a transcript of the bishop's message below:
"As you know, I'm a big believer in the connection.
And today I want to focus on 1 Corinthians 12:26, when one member suffers, we all suffer, and when one member rejoices, we all rejoice.
We've got a lot of members of our connection suffering right now.
Once again, North Georgia is the most intact place in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.
You responded amazingly well and I'm so grateful for your response to the flood victims in South Carolina and North Carolina. That relief work is ongoing.
But now I want to focus on South Georgia and celebrate our connection
When I was in South Florida and had a run of hurricanes, when every home in our community was damaged, when there was debris all over, when we were without power, I can't tell you the joy and relief I had when two of my clergy colleagues showed up to assess the damage and to promise
that we weren't alone in it.
You know what? I didn't ask them their theological bent (although we are different places
on the theological spectrum) but they were my brothers and sisters in Christ and they were part of the
United Methodist connection that came and ministered profoundly to me.
And now we have that opportunity, as well.
My husband Allen's Uncle Tommy is a long-time lineman and crew director with Florida Progress, which used to be Florida Power.
He's a specialist who gets called in after every storm because he is the guy
who puts electric crews, power crew together, and makes sure they work together.
He's one of those who can ride by a damage site and tell you exactly what kind of crew and equipment is needed, so he's in high demand.
We weren't surprised that he went to the hurricane-ravaged parts of South Georgia and he went to Mexico Beach in the Florida Panhandle.
Allen said the other night, Uncle Tommy is home.
And I said, why is that?
And Allensaid, he's home because they've gotta clear so much debris before they can even use him. They can't get to the power lines.
So, that's the kind of devastation that we're seeing.
Now, in South Florida when a palm tree falls, big whoop. It does a little bit of damage.
But in South Georgia, you have pecan trees, you have oak trees. You have huge trees with branches and every one of them wreaks an amazing amount of damage, every place it hits.
And so, that is what we are facing now. Our brothers and sisters in South Georgia need our help.
There are communities in South Georgia, where there's not a house or a family that isn't affected. I can't even explain how fatigued they are and how exhausted they are, and how to look around and
see devastation all around, weighs on your soul.
I want to thank the ERTs who have already been down. Scott Parrish our Disaster Relief Coordinator, has been losing a lot of sleep and working tirelessly down there.
We have chainsaw teams and tarp teams, including a dedicated group from Mount Pisgah. We have other churches throughout North Georgia are going down.
If you have chainsaw skill, tarp skill, please let us know and we'll train you as an ERT and you can go down there and help.
Because all of that stuff has to be cleared before the electric teams and other teams can get in to help.
That said, the flooding was tremendous and the damage is tremendous, so we will need teams from North Georgia to continue to go down there
for the foreseeable future.
If you have a team that you want to get ready, I know all the superintendents
are going to marshall teams from their districts.
I've set aside the week of December 17. If you'd like to go with me, let me know. Whatever needs to be done that week, we're gonna be available to do. We need your volunteer teams.
And most of all right now we need your dollars.
These folks, a lot of them, didn't have flood insurance. A lot of them were not set up for this kind of catastrophic damage. We have churches that are damaged and community centers that are damaged and need to be rebuilt, so please give generously.
After the storms in South Florida, my husband, Allen, dressed up for Halloween as the cone of uncertainty. That was the most terrifying thing he could think of.
And so, as we think about Halloween coming up, and All Saint's Sunday that follows, when the church shows up with light and joy, I invite you to show up for our neighbors.
Let's make October 28 the Sunday where we focus on relief for South Georgia.
It is going to be the Bishop's appeal for South Georgia and I hope that you and your congregations will give generously.
All the money we raise will go toSouth Georgia Conference and go directly to relief efforts.
Even in tragedy, we see such great examples and hear such great stories of where the connection has come through.
One of my favorite stories is about a church that has a huge pumpkin patch.
There was a church in the Panhandle of Florida that was destroyed and couldn't take the pumpkins.
So, this church took the pumpkins that were supposed to go to the damaged church
And they have set aside all day Saturday to sell those pumpkins and any money they raise is going to that devastated church. I thought that was a great story.
This is the time when the hands and feet of Christ really need to show up.
When one person suffers, we all suffer.
That's the heart of the connection.
So we may be high and dry and our houses intact in North Georgia, but I have a hard time
sleeping at night knowing the devastation that's all around.
So, I invite you to show up, to contribute generously, and to really let South Georgia know.
I have already gotten a note from Bishop Lawson Bryan from South Georgia saying thanks to North Georgia: 'You're here, you're helping, we're so grateful.'
But they need a lot more help.
I think that to really show that we are of one heart and one mind and one spirit, this is one of the great ways we can help our connection.
There's a church in Florida that promised to match up to $500,000 of any contributions in Florida.
So, if any church in North Georgia wants to create a matching opportunity, we can't let them show us up.
God bless you, I celebrate our connection. I celebrate our unity as we help those are in trouble. And I rejoice that the people of North Georgia are so generous and so willing and able to help in any kind of catastrophe.
God bless you, Amen.