Disaster Response Update: December 16 Storms

December 17, 2019

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


As you are now aware, many people were affected by last night's storms. As we celebrate this Advent season, it reminds us that storms can often come at the worst times. The good news is Christmas still came, despite the storm. I was reminded this past week in a personal devotion that Christmas is not as much about what happens at Christmas, as what happened that first Christmas. Christmas came to Bethlehem where the angels sang, but also to Ramah where the mothers grieved the death of their sons killed by King Herod.

I am sending this out so you know the North Alabama Conference Disaster Response Team is and will be responding to last night’s storms. Currently, most areas are still in the emergency phase. We are monitoring and doing assessments of the damage in numerous areas. I do want you to be aware that family members of United Methodists have died in this storm. Please pray for all the survivors of this storm in their grief and pain.

It appears the worst damage is in Colbert and Lawrence Counties.

Here is an update on what is happening and will happen and how you and your congregation can support response efforts.

  1. UMC Disaster Warehouse in Decatur, Alabama: The Disaster Warehouse has already deployed materials and volunteers to areas that have been hit. They left out this morning. If you would like to contribute to the Warehouse you can go to umdisasterwarehouse.com. There you can contribute online or get info on volunteering. Funds will be used in this disaster and to replenish Warehouse stocks for future disasters.
  2. North Alabama Conference Disaster Response Offering: If you would like to donate to help survivors and our Conference's response effort you can use our online donation option at www.umcna.org/disasterresponse. Funds will go to this storm, but in the rare case that any funds are left, they also will go for future storms.
  3. North Alabama Early Response Teams: At this point, we will be deploying trained ERT teams possibly as soon as tomorrow. Currently, most areas are still in the emergency phase and we must wait until ERTs are able to enter areas of need. If you would like to be a part of our response to this disaster please call or text me at 256-412-6945. For informational purposes, the text is the best way to communicate during a disaster. The reason is the message goes through even if I am on another call. Please text your name, email, and the area you live in and someone will contact you. 
On behalf of Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Randy Burbank and the entire North Alabama Conference Disaster Response Team, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

We will try to update you daily for the next several days. Pray for us that we can live into our vision of being the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of all the suffering and the pain. Thank you for your prayers and your help.

For His Glory,
Mike Butler
Assistant Conference Disaster Response Coordinator

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