Hurricane Sally Recovery: Ride Along with Rev. Scott Parrish


While Hurricane Sally is off the minds of many of us here in North Georgia, communities along the Gulf coast are still in the early phases of recovery. The North Georgia Conference has sent several trained ERT teams and would like to send many more. Our Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Scott Parrish, headed to the Alabama-West Florida Conference to check in on our neighbors and learn more about how we can help!

Follow along with Scott:

Downed Trees and Debris Piles

Once I got off the interstate, I began to see large trees down and debris piles. As expected, the further south I went the worse it was. So often, once you get off the main roads, the real damage is revealed. Here's a picture from St. Paul UMC in Bay Minette, Ala.

Visit with the Volunteer Coordinator

​My first stop was to check in with Joe Davis, volunteer coordinator for the Alabama-West Florida Conference Hurricane Response. (Watch a quick message from Joe at He shared that the Conference can accommodate 10 to 12 teams a week and encouraged volunteers to sign up. Team leaders or individuals can register at:

United Methodist Connection at work in Baldwin County

Rev. Sarah Jones from Marlow UMC and Rev. Rebecca Rutherford from Spanish Fort UMC — the sparkplugs of the operation serving this county!

The next day, I visited with Rev. Sarah Jones of Marlow UMC in Summerdale, Alabama, where the community is suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally. They need teams to help with the recovery. (Here's a short video message from Sarah

Hurricane Sally hung over this community for five hours straight. 

Sarah showed me around the sanctuary at Marlow, which has become a "recovery emporium" for the community. What a compelling message (and sermon illustration)! See a video of the space here:

My old friend Rev. Rebecca Rutherford (yes, I was once Rebecca's youth director!) is associate pastor at nearby Spanish Fort UMC. Rebecca has been a daily fixture of the recovery process in Baldwin County.

"We had planned our first in-person worship at Spanish Fort for the Sunday after the hurricane," Rebecca explained. "Instead, that Sunday our youth director and I drove around the area. We stopped in Fairhope UMC where the mission director pointed us to Fish River and Marlow UMC."

After spending some time with Sarah, Rebecca said, What do you need? I'll be back tomorrow. And she's been back every day since.

Thanks to collaboration between Marlow, Spanish Fort, and other nearby UMCs, hot lunches are being served weekly at Marlow and recovery supplies are offered to the community. 

"I don't think any of us could do this without the United Methodist Connection," said Rebecca.

Here Rebecca shares about the recovery work and how you can join in! Watch at

Our Connection Shines

As I traveled around the county, I met several local volunteers. I got to deputize Jim (pictured above), a member of Spanish Fort UMC, with a North Georgia Disaster Response t-shirt! Jim is an engineer and he's volunteering on his day off, doing some of the assessment and practical work of early response in the area around Marlow UMC.

I met another volunteer who grew up as a member of Grace UMC in Atlanta, was married at Epworth UMC in Candler Park, and spent summers at Glisson. 

I stopped by to meet a homeowner, Stacy, who experienced major flood damage from Hurricane Sally. Flooring has been pulled up and drywall has been cleared out thanks to a team from Mt. Bethel UMC in Marietta! Thank you Clyde and team! 

North Georgia Team Work

I spent my third day in the area with a team from North Georgia working on Hurricane Sally recovery in Fairhope, Alabama. This is another example of the best of our United Methodist connection—we have volunteers from Cornerstone UMC, Inman Park UMC, Inman UMC, and Providence UMC who arrived at Fairhope UMC today and got right to work in the community! 

They tarped a roof, which is a big job! It takes awhile to stretch it. Then secure one side. The back side has vent out pipes to cut around & tape. They roll the tarp around wood strips and screw into the roof deck. Sometimes these temporary blue tarps stay on a roof a year before a new roof goes on! Imagine having to withstand a hurricane or two?

All the while the ground crew was busy too! It takes BOTH for this to work.

Days like today illuminate the answer to the question in the New Testament: “Who is my neighbor?” That neighbor is in my community, region, and to the ends of the earth.

And our neighbors are grateful for help in their time of need!

What Next?

Thank you for coming along for the ride as I visited a few of the communities recovering from Hurricane Sally. I depart knowing three ways we can help:

1 - Pray.
2 - Give through UMCOR. (
3 - Send a team. (

See all of Scott's social media posts on the North Georgia Conference Facebook page: