UMCOR training event prepares team for disasters


The North Alabama Conference is pleased to announce the development and training of our first Emotional and Spiritual Care Team (Care Team). This team will work in conjunction with the Conference Disaster Response Program in providing much-needed emotional and spiritual care during and after a disaster. The conference hosted UMCOR consultant Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau at a training event held at the United Methodist Center June 28-29. Rev. Gaudreau trained 36 Care Team Members and 24 Care Team Leaders. These volunteers will be fulfilling the Care Team Priorities for the North Alabama Conference:

  • to serve as designated listeners for Emergency Response Teams
  • to serve as Information and Referral Teams post-disaster during neighborhood walk-throughs
  • to serve as Care Teams at churches designated as points of distribution
  • to provide necessary information to clergy and congregations
  • to represent the overall ‘thought leaders’ for the conference disaster spiritual and emotional care response

"One of the priorities I included in the UMCOR grant was money to support the emotional and spiritual care of the survivors of the April 2011 storms," said Rev. Nancy Cole, Coordinator of Disaster Recovery. "The grant will enable us to support the Conference Emotional and Spiritual Care Team in various ways. We are so fortunate to have excellent training provided by UMCOR for this program as well as Early Response Team Training. Our new Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Eric Bell, who will be responsible for ERT Training, also attended this emotional and spiritual care training. Our goal is to be as prepared as we can, as a Conference, to respond holistically to future disasters."

Rev. Matt Lacey, the Conference Director of Missions and Advocacy, supports the newly-formed Conference Emotional and Spiritual Care Team. He sees the value of having such a team in place to enhance early response efforts.

United Counseling and Rev. Sheri Ferguson have partnered with the Conference Disaster Response program to serve as the care team supervisor. Through the continued recovery from last April’s storms, it has become apparent that the process is long and painful. The goal of UMCOR-trained Care Ministry Teams is to assist those recovering communities and be ready when the next disaster strikes.

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