Hurricane Recovery: North Georgia UMs Have Strong Ties to The Bahamas


September 1, the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island experienced “unprecedented devastation" as a category 5 hurricane stalled over the northern islands of the Bahamas. But even before Hurricane Dorian had run its course, UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) was connecting with Methodists in the Bahamas to start relief efforts. 

The North Georgia Annual Conference has strong ties to our neighbors in the Bahamas, and many churches have already begun collecting special offerings to support the recovery. 

Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk, executive director of Bahamas Methodist Habitat, shared that in the last year and a half, teams have come to serve in the Bahamas from:

  • Acworth UMC
  • Mt Zion UMC
  • Covington First UMC
  • St James UMC
  • Ousley UMC

The organization has had recent summer interns from Dunwoody UMC (2018 & 2019), Kingswood UMC (2019), and Mt. Zion UMC Marietta (2019).

In addition to mission teams with connections, the Bahamas is home to several North Georgia United Methodists. 

Rev. Jennifer Carey is from Nassau where most of her family still resides. 

"The images and heartbreaking stories coming out of Abaco and Grand Bahama have left many of those watching from the outside world in amazement of the strength of Dorian and the devastation left in its wake," said Jennifer. "Many of my U.S. friends are also amazed at the resilience of my people as they have come together to help one another survive the worst ordeal of their lives."

Jennifer shared her gratitude for UMCOR and other NGO's who have come together and offered their resources to help. 

"The prayer I have for my fellow Bahamians as they move forward, living into their new reality of being without homes or loved ones, is that they hold on to their hope," said Jennifer. "The journey toward rebuilding their lives will be long and arduous, but I would like to remind them of Isaiah 40:31 which says  'those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.'"

How to Give

  • Donations may be made to UMCOR through any North Georgia United Methodist Church.
  • Designate gifts to "UMCOR International Disaster Response."
  • Churches can use North Georgia Conference Fund #8430 and mail donations to Conference Treasurer's Office, PO Box 102417, Atlanta, GA 30368-2417.