Rev. John L. Hassell, Jr., is the new Conference Disaster Response Coordinator. The duties of the Coordinator include working with Volunteer in Mission Coordinator Paulette West, other Conference staff, and District Disaster Coordinators to help the North Alabama Conference prepare its relief plan for natural and other disasters and to coordinate the relief work following a disaster – such as Hurricane Katrina.
Rev. Hassell, who currently serves as pastor of Cottondale UMC in the Southwest District, says “I became interested in disaster response after the Edgewater Community was hit by a devastating tornado. It became more of a passion while I was serving as pastor of Carbon Hill First UMC just following the 2002 tornado there and continued due to the devastation of Katrina.”
Rev. Hassell has been a member of the Conference’s disaster response team since 2003 and has served as the District Coordinator for both the former Jasper and Tuscaloosa Districts. While serving on the team he received UMCOR disaster training as well as disaster training and work with the American Red Cross, E.M.A and Homeland Security.
He says he is excited to serve God in this position of Conference Disaster Response Coordinator. He adds, “ I cannot see the devastation of natural or man-made disaster without being moved to action. This response to disasters is what, I believe, bringing Christ to the hurting is all about.”