By Kathy L. Gilbert
United Methodist News Service
NEW ORLEANS — United Methodist volunteers from across the United States were welcomed, thanked and challenged to keep coming to the Gulf Coast during a Katrina Summit to honor the work and workers of the past two years.
“It is a miracle what you have done,” said Bishop William B. Oden, chairman of the Katrina Church Recovery Appeal.
More than 63,000 United Methodist volunteers from 42 states, two foreign countries and 60 annual conferences have come to the aid of the
The Sept. 6-7 summit was organized to thank and recruit more volunteers, find new church partnerships and encourage more donations to the Katrina Church Recovery Appeal, a special fund established by the United Methodist Council of Bishops to help rebuild churches, pay salaries and restore other ministries.
Annual conferences from
The summit included a bus tour of three restored
“As storm-tossed people, we thank you from the depths of our hearts because you have been here from the very first days,” Ward said. “Has it been two years, two days or 20 years since Aug. 29, 2005? We continue to live in chaos, but we have never felt alone.”
United Methodists worldwide have given more than $66.4 million for recovery from Katrina and a series of other ferocious hurricanes that hit the
The money has gone to help more than 60,000 people and to build or restore more than 25,000 homes, he said.
Because UMCOR funds are restricted to helping people rebuild their homes and other necessities after disasters, the Council of Bishops established the Katrina Church Recovery Appeal to help with additional ministry needs in the wake of Katrina, Oden explained.
Using Hebrews 10, Goodpaster talked about tired Christians with “compassion fatigue” and said people on the
“I’m tired too,” he said. “I’m tired of watching the Weather Channel, of mucking houses, wearing masks and worrying about water surges.”
Goodpaster said the Hebrews writer urged Christians to address their fatigue by approaching God, holding fast to the confidence of Jesus Christ and helping one another.
“Thank you brothers and sisters who have shared our burden,” he said.
More work to be done
Leaders of the
“Go back to your conferences and say the need still goes on,” Goodpaster said. “You have come as disciples; now we need you to go back as apostles.”
The conference also wants to start two new Hispanic/Latino congregations and finish construction on multipurpose buildings used as warehouses and dormitories for Katrina recovery and future disasters.
The conference will open Luke’s House in November in
Four Louisiana United Methodist churches still need restoring or expanding.
For more information on how to help, contact the