The director of The United Methodist Church’s disaster relief program in the United States has accepted a new position as chief executive of a national association of relief organizations.
Gregory A. Forrester will become president and CEO of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) after serving for three years as director of U.S. operations of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), a unit of the General Board of Global Ministries. His resignation from UMCOR is effective November 11.
“We accept Greg’s resignation with regret but are pleased that his abilities and talents will continue to serve the cause of disaster relief and that we will retain links with him,” said Thomas Kemper, general secretary of Global Ministries. “NVOAD is an important organization in the coordination of domestic relief efforts. UMCOR is an active member and Greg is the current volunteer secretary of the association.”
UMCOR is the global humanitarian disaster relief and development program of the denomination. It has both U.S. and international operations. In the United States, UMCOR is a network of annual (regional) conference disaster response teams, staff professionals, Volunteers in Mission, and local church members and groups that provide a wide range of relief supplies following hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and fires. It has a number of supply depots across the country. Home repair and replacement by volunteers is a recurring activity, as is case management for individuals or families whose employment or way of life has been wiped out. UMCOR was founded in 1940.
Forrester came to UMCOR in 2013 from the position of Northeast Jurisdictional coordinator of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM), a role that included direct response to natural disasters across the land and in the Caribbean. He joined UMVIM in 1999.
Kemper said that Forrester has contributed substantially to the effectiveness of UMCOR’s U.S. work during his three years there. “He has increased accountability for disaster grants and strengthened the collaboration between UMCOR and UMVIM. Former ‘Disaster Academies’ are now ‘Mission Academies’ including both programs. Greg has achieved cost savings in monitoring and management and, at the same time, improved measurements of success. And he has provided strong support to annual conferences experiencing natural disasters. Training for disaster risk reduction has significantly increased.”
National VOAD was founded 40 years ago in an effort to coordinate relief responses in the wake of Hurricane Camille. It has developed into an important adjunct to both government and the nonprofit sector in both first response and long-term disaster relief.
The Rev. Jack Amick, Global Ministries’ senior director of UMCOR Disaster Response, describes NVOAD as “a means through which partner organizations agree on best practice, collaborate with government entities, decide how various organizations function in disaster situations, and hold one another accountable. It is a way for UMCOR and other relief agencies to maintain places at the table. FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) can’t do the work of disaster response and recovery alone. The country relies on voluntary organizations such as UMCOR to get the job done. We are pleased that Greg represents the heritage of UMCOR in the next stage of NVOAD.”