Disaster Preparedness Ongoing Topic for Mississippi
By Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton, Director of Connectional Ministries and Communications
Mississippi is no stranger to the impact of disasters. Hurricane Katrina, almost nine years in the distance,
is still close in the hearts and minds of Mississippians, like Rev. David Cumbest, a native to the Mississippi coast and the Mississippi Conference disaster relief coordinator. He was on the team during Hurricane Katrina and recalls the devastation to his community and the next several years it would take United Methodists to help families and communities rebuild.
Cumbest has expressed there is a need for strengthening the Mississippi Conference disaster relief team in all the 11 districts for a unified response.
"Our disaster response mechanism in the state is to become a team," said Cumbest.
Recently, Cumbest and eight other Mississippi United Methodists attended the 2014 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference Disaster Academy from UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) at Simpsonwood Retreat Center in Norcross, Georgia.
Photo right:Pictured left to right: (front row) Frank Newell, Mike Sims, Connie Shelton, David Newton, Rob Grant,(back row) C.J. Caufield, Scott Wright, Darrell Sanderson and David Cumbest (Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator).
"Jesus left behind a people, not just a book and that's what we are trying to do with disaster response is put together people who will write the disaster plan before the next event," Cumbest explained.
Greg Forrester, assistant general secretary for UMCOR, Disaster Response in the United States, spoke with Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference Disaster Academy about the partnership between UMCOR and Mississippi United Methodists.
UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community's ability to recover on its own. Through UMCOR, United Methodists extend loving care to people within the United States, as well as internationally in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. These beneficiaries are seen as partners, not victims, and UMCOR works to empower them. Wherever possible, UMCOR cooperates with other aid organizations to extend its reach.
In its holistic response to disasters, UMCOR:
- Offers disaster preparedness training.
- Provides essential supplies and care-both physical and psychological-in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
- Supports long-term rebuilding efforts and assists communities as they adapt.
On Sunday, March 30, Mississippi United Methodists will have the opportunity to support the efforts of UMCOR through the Advance special offering "One Great Hour of Sharing." Donations through this offering along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year cover the relief agency's costs of doing business.
UMCOR does not receive apportioned mission shares, so this is Mississippi's chance to participate. Anyone interested in serving on the Mississippi Annual Conference disaster response team can send an email to Rev. David Cumbest at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about UMCOR, click here.
Photo left: Greg Forrester, UMCOR Assistant General Secretary for Disaster Response in the United States, spoke with Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference Disaster Academy about the partnership between UMCOR and Mississippi United Methodists.