Latest News

November 6, 2018


The Mississippi Conference Disaster Team continues to assess damages from the recent severe weather. Damages are widespread across the state. We would like to remind churches to report any damages to their district offices.

Please consider volunteering for one of our upcoming disaster mission trips. If you are ready to join us in this important work, please complete the form here.

Thanks in advance for your help with this effort.

Recovery volunteers are needed in the following areas:

Mississippi Conference recovery mission opportunities from 2017/2018 flooding and tornados are still available in: 

  • Hattiesburg
  • Leland
  • Durant
  • Kilmichael
  • Meridian

Hurricane Harvey: Texas Conference - All skill levels are welcome. These homes require light interior construction. Typically, that includes hanging insulation, drywall, painting, installing flooring, etc. Other specialized skills are needed also.

Relief volunteers are needed in the following areas:

Hurricane Michael - Georgia and Florida Conferences are now accepting teams. For information on registering your team or joining another Mississippi team trip, fill out this form.

Hurricane Florence - North Carolina UMC and South Carolina UMC Disaster Response Ministries needs volunteers of all ability levels to help clean out homes that have been impacted by Hurricane Florence. These homes require “muck-out,” which means removing all of the wet and damaged areas of a home. Typically, this includes taking out drywall, flooring, furniture, carpet and additional work. This work helps bring the home to a condition in which it can be treated against mold and allow it to dry in preparation for any rebuilding efforts in the future.


UMVIM team leader training -The United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) training is for those who want to take a team either locally or international. You will be trained briefly on how to help in this disaster. For more information, contact Amanda Gordon at

Early Response Training - Are you interested in attending an early response training or interested in bringing training to your church? Contact Ray Wallace at

Connecting Neighbors - This curriculum is for local churches to prepare as individuals, congregations and for ministry when your community is struck by disaster. Contact Mellie Thomas at


Hattiesburg Disaster Recovery: In it for the Long Hall  

Celebrate the great ministry we are doing in disaster response in Hattiesburg and around the conference, but don’t celebrate too long because we still have a long way to go. Sign up for upcoming emergency response training here. You can also make a donation at the address listed below. One hundred percent of your donations to UMCOR go towards recovery. Thank you in advance for Living Out The POWER of We, because together we can transform lives.

Send checks to:

MS Conference of The United Methodist Church

 320 – A Briarwood Drive

Jackson, MS 39206

And reference “disaster response” in the memo line


We Need Volunteers for Recovery!

Ongoing recovery efforts are happening across the conference. We need your help repairing damaged homes. Long Term Recovery Volunteers needed:

  • Hattiesburg currently has 26 projects needing volunteers to finish out the recovery from the January 2017 tornado. Special skills requested roofers, carpentry, drywall removal and replacement. Housing available. Hattiesburg UMCOR partnership with R3SM Long Term Recovery - contact Chris Adams to volunteer,, 601.818.5899
  • Greenwood District has 12 projects needing volunteers to finish out recovery from February 2018 flooding in Leland. Special skills requested: foundation elevation, roofers and carpentry. Housing available. Greenville UMCOR partnership with Delta Force Long Term Recovery - contact Terri Lane to volunteer,, 662-379-3169
  • Meridian has 9 projects funded for materials, waiting on volunteers with more to follow from the April 2018 tornado. Special skills requested: roofers, carpentry, drywall, flooring and painting. Housing available. Meridian UMCOR partnership with Partners in Recovery of Lauderdale County - contact Fonda Rush to volunteer,, 601.479.0515
  • Durant has 25 projects needing volunteers and funding. Special skills requested: roofers and carpentry. Durant UMCOR partnership with Holmes Long Term Recovery, contact Mellie Jordan to volunteer,, 662.736.6362
  • Kilmichael UMCOR partnership with Montgomery DREAM Long Term Recovery, contact Mellie Jordan to volunteer,, 662.736.6362


Local Response Needs

Ongoing recovery efforts are happening across the conference. We need your help repairing damaged homes. Long-term recovery volunteers are needed in the following areas:

  • Hattiesburg -UMCOR partnership with R3SM Long Term Recovery, contact Chris Adams to volunteer,, 601.818.5899
  • Greenville - UMCOR partnership with Delta Force Long Term Recovery, contact Terri Lane to volunteer,, 662.379.3169
  • Meridian - UMCOR partnership with Partners in Recovery of Lauderdale County, contact Fonda Rush to volunteer,, 601.479.0515
  • Durant - UMCOR partnership with Holmes Long Term Recovery, contact Mellie Jordan to volunteer,, 662.736.6362
  • Kilmichael - UMCOR partnership with Montgomery DREAM Long Term Recovery, contact Mellie Jordan to volunteer,, 662.736.6362


Assistance Needed in the Texas Rio Conference

June 20-21, torrential rain hit the Rio Grande Valley in the Rio Texas Conference.  Over 7,000 homes were affected by the flood. Teams from any conference are welcome. They should register here and those who register will be contacted to make further arrangements. the Texas Rio Conference anticipates needing ERTs for at least one or two months. Inquiries should be directed via email to Eugene Hileman or to Jim Street at
The areas affected were primarily in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, especially the towns of Mercedes and Weslaco. Several churches in the area have accommodations suitable for housing teams, including showers and kitchens.


Long-term Disaster Relief Project in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Croix was ravaged by back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, in September 2017. In partnership with FEMA and Lutheran Social Services, UMVIM teams are needed to repair/rebuild homes for residents of the island.

WHEN: Saturday, October 6, 2018 through Saturday, October 20, 2018

WHO: 16-member team will be comprised of:

  • Skilled volunteers with experience in any aspect of construction (carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc.). Tools will be provided and supplies will be on the ground at the residence when the team arrives.
  • General helpers
  • Two individuals willing to cook (breakfast only) for the team and to participate in the “Iggi Project” (a curriculum that uses puppets to provide Virgin Island children, parents and educators with tools to explore and process emotional stresses after traumatic experiences such as a hurricane).
  •  A team leader who will provide team support and will serve as a liaison with FEMA and Lutheran Social Services.

FEMA will provide the following for each team member: round-trip airfare and a per diem for housing, food and miscellaneous expenses.


  • Each volunteer must bring his/her own sheets, pillow/pillowcase and towels. Laundry facilities will be available. There is a K-Mart open on the island.
  • UMVIM insurance is required. The cost varies, depending on the coverage option you select, but is very reasonable.
  • Registration fee $85.00
  • Optional weekend activities

Please contact UMVIM director/project director, Hollis Crowder, immediately if you are interested in serving.


Phone: 662.609.3328


Meridian, Marion and Lauderdale Counties in Mississippi experienced an EF2 tornado Saturday, April 14, 2018 and are requesting Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MSVOAD) partner organization cleanup assistance to aid residents. 

Preliminary damage assessments by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)—which are expected to increase slightly— indicate residential damage by number in the following categories:

  • 56 residences affected
  • 15 residences destroyed
  • One mobile home destroyed
  • 29 residences with major damage
  • 16 residences with minor damage

Immediate volunteer support is needed in debris cleanup, chainsaw work and tarping. Central United Methodist Church in Meridian is providing volunteer housing for ERT (Early Response Team) volunteers. The Mississippi Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Kenny McGill (, is organizing ERT volunteers.

Wesley House Community Center in Meridian is serving as the primary distribution center. They are accepting donations and there is an immediate need for donations of the following items: 

  • Non-perishable food items: canned soups, canned beans, canned fruits, packaged baked items, rice and dried beans.
  • Bottled water
  • New packaged underwear and socks
  • Large plastic trash bags
  • Large plastic bins

Items can be delivered directly to the Wesley House or to your district office. If you have any questions, contact Mellie Jordan, Mississippi Conference Disaster Recovery Project Manager at 662.736.6362 or via email at



Dear members of the Mississippi Annual Conference,

I realize that in times of crisis like what we are witnessing with Hurricane Harvey, the true spirit of our Christian hearts come to the forefront. In many instances our heart's desire to "just do something" can work in harmful ways. I have been in contact with Texas Annual Conference Bishop Scott Jones, and I ask you in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to react in this manner:

  1. Do not abandon the most powerful aid that we have and that is to be in prayer. Remember "the prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve," James 5:16b CEB. In your prayer time don't forget to lift up the first responders, local police departments, fire department personnel, government officials, National Guard and those who will provide supplies.
  2. Monetary donations can be made directly to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Domestic Disaster Response Advance #901670. One hundred percent of donations given to UMCOR goes to disaster response. 
  3. Please continue to monitor your Mississippi Conference website, social media and email to discover when and what you can do to be of assistance. Our conference disaster response coordinator, Rev. Kenny McGill has provided the current disaster response requests and details on how you can help below.

The book of Mark, chapter four tells us that Jesus demonstrated his authority over storms. We can and should pray for God's intervention and believe that God can and does intervene as an answer to our prayers. So I write to you, to not be afraid to join me in praying for intervention from God. Then we can do what we can to alleviate the sufferings that will come from Harvey. Thank you Rev. McGill and our disaster response team for leading us in responding during this time.

Yours in Christ, 

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.

Kits Needed

We have had a request from our UMCOR Supply Depot at Sager Brown for cleaning buckets and health kits. They are needed in Texas and Louisiana to help in the relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey. We ask that you adhere to the UMCOR instructions when assembling these kits, to include the shipping donation requested. Click here to view an instructional video on how to assemble the kit. You can also find a list of items needed for hygiene kits here. Listed below are drop-off locations by districts:

Brookhaven: Camp Wesley Pines
East Jackson: Camp Wesley Pines
Greenwood: Indianola First UMC
Hattiesburg: Heritage UMC
Meridian: Meridian District Office, Newton First UMC and Quitman First UMC
New Albany: Tupelo District Office
Seashore: Heritage UMC, D'Iberville; Nugent UMC, Gulfport and Dantzler Memorial UMC, Moss Point
Senatobia: Senatobia District Office and Hinds Chapel UMC, Lake Cormorant
Starkville: Louisville First UMC or Contact Mike Dowd, district disaster response coordinator at 662.803.7952 for pick up
Tupelo: Tupelo District Office
West Jackson: Camp Wesley Pines 


Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas Friday night north of Corpus Christi. High winds and rain are expected to contribute to potential flooding. 

Mississippi Conference Disaster Response is in contact with the Texas Annual Conference and at this time, they have asked that we pray for those affected.  

We are standing by to assist when invited to do so by the South Central Jurisdiction and the Texas Annual Conference. Please remember that we do not self-deploy or send supplies until we know what is needed. We do this because we do not want to overwhelm the resources of the Texas Annual Conference and those on the ground locally. The Texas Annual Conference has said to their own churches--and this applies to us as well:

"Please remind all of your churches NOT to collect unsolicited donations such as water, food and clothing."

Monetary donations can be made directly to UMCOR Domestic Disaster Response, Advance #901670 at

Churches and individuals can assemble cleaning kits (flood buckets) and deliver them to the mission center in Conroe beginning Monday. A list of kit supplies can be found here.

We will let you know of collection sites as details are finalized. 

Grace and peace,

Rev. Kenny McGill, Disaster Response Coordinator
Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
Phone: 662.416.1981


If your church is looking for opportunities for a fall mission trip, you do not have to look far. There are many places that your team can serve in long-term recovery from several disasters that have affected the lives of people here in Mississippi. We are called to love our neighbors and there is no better way to show that love than to help people regain a sense of normalcy after the devastation of a disaster.

Mississippi's United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) offer you the opportunity to serve in various areas throughout the conference. Below is a list of mission opportunities to help with recovery in Mississippi: 

Greenwood District

  1. Greenville- Homes needing repair or rebuilding from the flood in March 2016. You may volunteer through Delta Force at 601.573.4297. Rev. Justin White is the contact person.
  2. Montgomery County- the tornado in April 2017. Volunteer through Montgomery Dreams at 662.262.7844. Kent Mortimer is the contact person. 

Hattiesburg District

  1. Hattiesburg and Petal- Pine Belt tornado on January 17, 2017 and some cases left from the flooding in the Pine Belt area from 2016. If you would like to volunteer, do so through R3SM at 601.818.5899. Chris Adams is the contact person.

You may also contact Mellie Jordan, conference disaster program manager at 662.736.6362.


Preparation for Tropical Storm Cindy

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Tropical Storm Cindy is projected to make landfall between New Orleans and Galveston, Texas. That means we are on the east side of the storm. Our potential hazards from this storm are heavy rain fall— 5 to 12 inches in some places— which may produce flooding.

As this storm approaches, I want to remind you: do not self-deploy to affected areas. In the early stages, please allow the local and state government and rescue professionals to do their work, and allow conference and district staff to do their initial assessments. We will keep you informed as to when it is safe to render aid.

All certified early response teams (ERTs) need to be in standby mode for deployment. Please watch your email for more information. In the meantime, churches can help by assembling UMCOR cleaning buckets in preparation for this event. You can find instructions on how to assemble cleaning buckets here.

Also, continue to hold in your prayers the districts, churches and the children of God that are in the path of this storm.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Kenny McGill
Mississippi Conference Disaster Response Coordinator


There is an immediate need for volunteer teams to assist in the cleanup efforts in Kilmichael, Mississippi. Kilmichael was hit by a tornado on April 30 and is a small rural town with little resources. The mayor has requested help from volunteer organizations to help residents removing storm debris from their private property. There may be some chainsaw work and of course, material handling equipment like Bobcats or tractors are always needed. If you have a team of volunteers that would like to help you may contact the public works director, John Pearson at 662.417.0572. If your team needs housing, it is available at Moore Memorial United Methodist Church at 662.283.3804.​ 

Grace and peace,

Rev. Kenny McGill, Disaster Response Coordinator




Emergency Response Teams Needed

ERTs are currently welcome and encouraged to aid with disaster recovery in the following areas:

  • Those who wish to deploy to Holmes County should contact David Creamer at 601.896.4943
  • Those who wish to deploy to Kilmichael in Montgomery County should contact Moore Memorial United Methodist Church at 662.283.3804.


Hattiesburg Area Disaster Response: Moving to Long-term Recovery

Edwards Street Fellowship Center would like to thank local churches for their overwhelming generosity in response to the needs for recovery supplies. At this time, no more supplies are needed in the disaster area, but we continue to welcome financial contributions to serve the immediate needs of the affected communities and prepare for long-term rebuilding.

Monetary donations should be sent by the local church to:

The Mississippi Annual Conference

P.O. Box 1603

Jackson, MS 39215

Make a note in the memo line on the check that reads, "Hattiesburg/Petal Disaster Response."

We have immediate and long-term needs for volunteer teams to help with clean up. All volunteers are welcome and there is no early response team (ERT) certification needed for those interested in assisting with the clean-up process. For more information on how you can help with clean up contact Hattiesburg District disaster coordinator, Rev. Daniel Herring at 601.278.3092.

Please continue to pray for those who suffered loss and/or damage due to the recent severe weather.

Grace and peace,


Rev. Kenny McGill

Disaster Response Coordinator

Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

Phone: 662.416.1981


Tarp Teams Needed for Hattiesburg Area Disaster Response

If there are tarp teams available to work a couple of days in the Hattiesburg area please contact Chris Adams at 601.818.5899. 


Brothers and sisters in Christ, 

Disaster response in the Hattiesburg and Petal area is becoming organized. We want to thank all the volunteers that have responded in the early days of this disaster. We have a long road ahead of us as the regions that sustained damage from tornados and storms have been declared federal disaster areas.

We are in need of people that can come and help organize volunteers and conduct site assessments. If you feel led to this work please contact Rev. Daniel Herring, Hattiesburg District disaster coordinator at 601.278.3092.

Assistance is also needed with providing meals for volunteers, so if you have a feeding team please contact Penny Barr at 601.606.8816.
There is a huge need for teams to come and help with clean-up efforts. There is housing available for volunteer groups. If your team is available to come, contact Chris Adams at 601.818.5899.

We are also in need of heavy equipment teams for demolition work. Heavy equipment teams are volunteers that can provide and use backhoes, bulldozers and the like. If you have a team that can do this type of work please contact the Mississippi Conference Disaster Response coordinator, Rev. Kenny McGill at 662.416.1981.

Main Street United Methodist Church is hosting a Volunteer Navigators on Saturday, February 4, 2017. They will be going door-to-door in the affected area to hand out information, and to be a positive Christian presence in the community. If you would like to participate contact Rev. Aislinn Kopp at 662.542.8054.

Thanks again for all those who responded to aid requests. Because of your generosity, the Mississippi Conference has fulfilled the supply needs from our last update.

Financial contributions are not only welcome but also encouraged as we continue to serve the immediate needs of the affected communities and prepare for long-term rebuilding.

Monetary donations should be sent by the local church to:

The Mississippi Annual Conference
P.O. Box 1603
Jackson, MS 39215

Make a note in the memo line on the check that reads, "Hattiesburg/Petal Disaster Response."
Grace and peace,
Rev. Kenny McGill
Disaster Response Coordinator
Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
Phone: 662.416.1981


Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Listed below are requested donations of items identified as immediate needs to aid the Hattiesburg Area Disaster Response:

  • Packing tape and tape guns
  • Rubbermaid tubs to store belongings
  • Edwards St. Fellowship Thrift Store $10 vouchers
  • Diapers
  • Roofing Nails and 1 x 2 wood strips for tarping

Please contact Rev. Daniel Herring at 601.278.3092 or Rev. Kenny McGill at 662.412.1981 for drop-off locations.

Monetary donations should be sent by the local church to:

The Mississippi Annual Conference
P.O. Box 1603
Jackson, MS 39215
Make a note in the memo line on the check that reads, "Hattiesburg/Petal Disaster Response."
Grace and peace,
Rev. Kenny McGill,
Mississippi Conference Disaster Response Coordinator


Mississippi United Methodists,

This has been a stormy weekend. Mississippi Conference Disaster Response (UMCOR) is currently working with the Hattiesburg and Petal areas impacted by recent tornados. We particularly want to bring you an update on what has and will be done in Hattiesburg.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is completing assessments and they are allowing us to permit ONLY certified Early Response Teams (ERT) to come in Tuesday. Mississippi Conference Disaster Response has had the following on-sight training:

• proper tarp replacement

• safety

• residential muck-outs

• neighbors helping neighbors with essentials.

ERTs should be self-sustainable and will be housed at the R3SM building located at 301 Buschman St. in Hattiesburg. Available ERTs should call Mrs. Creighton at 601.544.5115 or George at 601.310.7700 to register before coming. Teams must contact the Hattiesburg District disaster response coordinator, Rev. Daniel Herring at 601.278.3092.

Check your emails, the conference website and social media frequently. Details will be released as updates become available. Please continue to pray for those who suffered loss and/or damage due to the recent severe weather.

Donations should be sent by the local church to:

Mississippi Conference

P.O. Box 1603

Jackson, MS 39215

Make a note in the memo line on the check that reads, "Hattiesburg/Petal Disaster Response."


Rev. Vickie White,

Director of Connectional Ministries and Communications


Mississippi Disaster Response Update

After a round of terrible storms, we are grateful that as of this moment there have been no reports of weather-related fatalities here in Mississippi. Ongoing assessments of damage in affected areas are being conducted by conference disaster response coordinators.  As initial evaluations are completed, we will send updates with how the conference will be assisting in recovery and how you can help. If you would like to report damage or needs in regions impacted by the recent storms please contact your district office.  

Also, please be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Tennessee and Alabama who experienced loss of lives and property.


Response Teams to Louisiana Flooding

The Louisiana Annual Conference—as of Monday morning—is now accepting teams to respond to relief efforts. Teams may register here for both the early response phase (i.e. sorting through personal items, removing furniture and other debris, mucking out homes and assessing needs) and the recovery phase (i.e. rebuilding). Do not self-deploy to Louisiana, but respectfully follow the directions through this registration and assignment of work teams.

For United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)/ United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) training, please reach out to Rev. Kenny McGill, Mississippi Conference disaster response coordinator, at or 662.416.1981.

As previously shared:

For information on UMVIM deployment team needs in the Mississippi Conference contact David Newton at


Thank you for your consideration to bless others affected by this year’s flooding disasters in Mississippi and Louisiana.

There continues to be a demand for cleaning buckets and health kits. If you are in the process of assembling cleaning buckets or health kits, listed below are collection dates and distribution sites near you:

Please call delivery location before delivering buckets and/or kits to ensure someone is present to collect.

Do not self-deploy to Louisiana as outside teams have not been requested at this time. For more information on United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) deployment team needs in the Mississippi Conference contact David Newton at

Watch for updates on the conference website, social media, additional emails for drop-off sites and training opportunities as details are finalized.


Thank you for your continued response to this spring’s devastating floods. Long term recovery continues.

Gov. Phil Bryant issued a State of Emergency for Adams, Amite, Pike and Wilkinson counties which were affected by the heavy rainfall and severe flooding over the last few days.

Mellie Jordan, disaster response project manager for the Mississippi Annual Conference attended today’s Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) meeting. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's (MEMA) damage assessment is ongoing. Please do not self-deploy as the communities are not prepared to receive volunteers at this time.

However, you can help those affected in the following ways:

1. Continue to pray for those who suffered loss and/or damage in Mississippi and Louisiana.

2. Donate money. You can give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) U.S. Disaster Response Advance #901670, or send checks to the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1603, Jackson, MS 39215-1603.

3. Create cleaning “flood” buckets

4. Assemble health kits.

Watch for updates on the conference website, social media, additional emails for drop-off sites and training opportunities as details are finalized. 


Mississippi Conference Disaster Response Update: Volunteers Needed for Flood Damage

The state of Mississippi saw multiple rounds of torrential rains that fell almost continuously from March 9 through March 14. These prolonged torrential rains resulted in widespread flash flooding and river flooding across the region, with numerous area rivers reaching moderate and major flood stages. Floodwaters damaged numerous homes and businesses, and closed many primary and secondary roads across the state, with some secondary roads washed out.

As of the end of June 2016, there are still many people outside of their homes. There are families in their homes, being forced to live with mold. These families have no insurance and no more financial assistance. Elderly couples are left to do all the work by themselves. Those unable to complete this work are either forced out of their homes due to unsanitary conditions or stuck in these conditions.

Below is a list of areas in need of assistance and what type of help is necessary:

Greenville/Washington County – 1. volunteers for muck outs are an immediate need 2. need volunteer for repairs, (mostly sheetrock, flooring, some roofing)

Sunflower County -- volunteer for repairs

Clarksdale/Quitman and Coahoma Counties -- volunteer for repairs (sheetrock, flooring, roofing)

To volunteer contact Mellie Jordan at


Volunteers Needed ASAP

Clarksdale is in need of volunteer teams to muck out flooded houses. St. Paul United Methodist Church is set up to house teams. The church is located at 1012 W. 2nd St. in Clarksdale. Volunteers will need to bring air mattresses or sleeping bags. There will be showers and plenty of work. For teams seeking more information, contact Wayne Winter at 662.902.9258 or

Please consider putting together a team to assist our friends who are eager to reach out to the families in need in their communities. Within Mississippi, emergency response team (ERT) training is not a requirement, but you will need someone on the team who knows what is required to clean out flooded homes.  If you have questions about team formation or the work to be done contact David Cumbest, conference disaster coordinator at 228.990.4880.

Flood Response Teams Needed

The Clarksdale area is ready to receive flood response teams. Team housing with showers is available at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. The church is located at 1012 W. 2nd St. in Clarksdale. For more information, contact Wayne Winter at 662.902.9258 or to schedule your group. 

Cleaning Buckets Needed

UMCOR depots in Louisiana and Alabama are running low on cleaning buckets. Please encourage your congregations to consider helping make buckets. Cleaning buckets enable people to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up after a flood or hurricane. If you would like to help by assembling cleaning buckets, click here for assembly and shipping instructions. If you are storing buckets or need more information, contact David Cumbest at 228.990.4880. 


Oxford Tornado Recovery  Gathering

St. Andrews United Methodist Church (UMC) in Oxford, Mississippi hosted a total of 54 tornado recovery volunteers Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6. Volunteers were from the Mississippi State University Wesley Foundation, St. Andrews UMC, Ole Miss students, members from Oxford-University UMC, local farmers and members of other local Oxford churches. Teams removed debris from six corn and soybean fields. This will enable the farmers to plant crops in late February or early March. Two St. Andrews contractors also went out to assess home repair needs of two homes.


Tarp and Debris Teams Needed ASAP

Yesterday, tornadoes touched down and left a path of destruction in Collinsville and Scooba. As early as this morning, tarp and debris removal teams are needed to aid disaster response efforts. Those who would like to help can call the Meridian District disaster response coordinator, Mike Sims at 601.479.4995 for more information.


Volunteer Teams Encouraged to Gather for Tornado Recovery in Oxford

St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Oxford, Mississippi is leading tornado recovery volunteer teams Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6. The church is located at 431 North 16th St. Those teams participating should meet at St. Andrews at 6:30 a.m. for breakfast and will depart by 7:00 a.m. The registration fee is $40 and includes meals and lodging. Don’t forget to bring sleeping bags. For more information and how to register, contact Hollis Crowder at 662.234.2503 or St. Andrews United Methodist Church at 662.609.3328.


North Mississippi Disaster Response Status: Supplies and Teams Info

As of January 1, 2016 Marshall County is the only entity requesting teams (tarp and debris removal) from outside their area. Please check with the following persons before sending supplies or teams:

Marshall County- Dr. Bill Scott 662.306.4008
New Albany District- Rev. Jim Peterman 662.816.3985
Quitman County-Butch Scipper work: 662.326.2661, cell: 662.444.2661
Coahoma County-Wayne Winter 662.902.9258


North Mississippi Disaster Response Status: Information for Team Housing and Food

Teams responding to tornado recovery in the Holly Springs area are welcome to contact Hope Reigns Ministry for housing and food at 256.503.1024. 


North Mississippi Disaster Response Status: Holly Springs Now Taking Teams

The Holly Springs area is ready to receive debris removal and tarp teams. Contact Dr. Bill Scott at 662.306.4008 to volunteer.


North Mississippi Disaster Response Status: No Teams at This Time

Let us be in prayer for our neighbors in north Mississippi who were in the path of the December 23, 2015 tornadoes. Many homes are either destroyed or heavily damaged. Others now mourn the death of family members and friends. Local residents are assisting in search and recovery. North Mississippi is not yet ready to receive teams from outside the area but will publicize via social media and the conference website as updates are made available.


Latest on Disaster Response in South Carolina Conference

The South Carolina Conference has asked that the Mississippi Conference stand ready, but it may be a week or more before they are able to get into the flooded areas.  When the South Carolina Conference begins recovery, they will use their own emergency response teams (ERT) and then reach out to their closest neighbors. If the call comes for Mississippi to help, disaster response will put together a team of those trained as early responders to be deployed. Mississippi may not be needed during this phase but may be a greater help in the last of the recovery and rebuilding stages. Mississippi has already sent a start-up grant from the disaster fund to help them get started. 

If you are ERT certified and would like to be a part of a team, please send an email to David Cumbest at so that teams can be organized if needed. No flood buckets are needed at this time. Instead, health and school kits are requested. Volunteers making health and school kits should keep them at their churches until further information comes from the South Carolina Conference. Thank you for your willingness to serve. 


Miss. Conference’s Hilary Glover, One of 37 Recently-commissioned Missionaries

By connectNmission, an e-newsletter from The Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church

Harare, Zimbabwe—After three intense weeks of missionary training, 37 young adults from 16 countries were commissioned for service on August 30 at the Revelation United Methodist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe. Hilary Glover from the Mississippi Conference was one of those commissioned.

The 2015 class of international Global Mission Fellows will spend two years in ministries focused on justice and community development and will serve in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. They were joined by 15 young adults earlier assigned to work in the United States as Global Mission Fellows.

More than half of the group is from African annual (regional) conferences and many will serve in parts of Africa thousands of miles from their homelands. More than a dozen of the new missionaries are graduates of Africa University, and four in the international group are from the United States.

Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone led the commissioning service and shared with the burgeoning missionaries the need to be anchored in the love of Jesus Christ, as anchor crosses were passed out to each new missionary. The anchor cross represents the secure link to God over smooth or turbulent passages.

Kneeling cushions provided by Revelation UMC were also given as gifts to the new missionaries as a reminder for them to depend upon God for strength and guidance for their journey ahead.

Global Mission Fellows is a program of Global Ministries that provides young adult mission service opportunities for young adults ages 20-30. Young adults are invited to engage with the local communities, connect the church in mission, and grow in personal and social holiness. Click here for more information. 


Mission Volunteer Opportunities

If you are being called to serve in mission service beyond a week or 10 days,  the Mission Volunteer Program sponsored by Global Ministries provides opportunities for individuals and couples to serve from two months to two years in a variety of ministries around the world. Here are some examples:

In Honduras, there are ministries that need volunteers to serve as youth leaders, to coordinate team projects and to minister to children with disabilities.

In Africa, a volunteer is needed at the Malawi United Methodist Church Conference Offices. The position is for an international financial management consultant. This is a partnership with the Church of the Resurrection. The main responsibility is to develop and implement a financial accounting management system.

Our missionary in Chile is seeking a volunteer to serve as a gardener and groundskeeper.

The McCurdey School in Espanola, New Mexico has ongoing needs for directors.

In Haiti there is a need for a couple to serve as volunteers-in-mission team coordinators. 

To respond to these volunteer requests and others, become a mission volunteer. Apply now at in time for our October 21-24 training event. Please contact Malcolm Frazier at or call 212.870.3659.


SEJ UMVIM Director to Lead Train the Trainer Event in Pearl August 29





Those interested in receiving training as a United Methodist Volunteer in Mission (UMVIM) should come join others interested in humanitarian aid for the Train the Trainer event being held August 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at McLaurin United Methodist Church in Pearl. Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) UMVIM executive director, Paulette West will be the featured presenter at this event. Those who attend the training will be qualified to lead team leader trainings in their areas. Team leader training credit is also available for participants who may not want to be a trainer in the future.


When you pre-register, please include your name, church, phone number and email address. This training cost $25 and includes the UMVIM manual and lunch (pay at the door). Pre-registration is required by August 24 by contacting Rev. Amanda Gordon at 662.781.1333 or You can also contact Rev. David Newton at 228.216.6567 or  Click here for additional information. 


One Year After the Tornado Outbreak:Tupelo and Louisville Commemorate Triumph over Calamity

Mississippians observe one year of long-term disaster recovery from severe weather that swept through Lee and Winston counties April 28, 2014. Below are moments captured from Tupelo’s memorial service and an event in Louisville. From the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church to the countless volunteers, case workers and survivors... thanks for making us Mississippi Strong! 

Louisville Man and Woman of the Year Awarded to United Methodist Leaders 

The 58th Annual Chamber of Commerce for Winston County recognized Louisville's First United Methodist member, Mellie Childs Jordan (left) as "Woman of the Year" for her contributions through disaster recovery as the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) case management coordinator. Rev. Mike Dowd (right), United Methodist pastor of the West Louisville Charge and executive director of Winston Strong, was recognized as "Man of the Year" for his leadership with disaster response.

Below is a video from Mellie Jordan showing progression through pictures of how those impacted by the April 28, 2014 Tornadoes went from disaster to glory.

Tupelo Memorial Service 

Tupelo hosted a memorial service remembering and celebrating the recovery efforts from the April 28, 2014 tornadoes. Pictured above are the president of the Tupelo City Council, Mike Bryan; vice-president of the Tupelo City Council and St. Paul United Methodist Church member, Nettie Davis and the chair of the Community Recovery Committee and Tupelo's First United Methodist Church member, Jack Reed Jr.


Thanks for Making us Mississippi Strong!

We commemorate one year of long-term disaster recovery from severe weather that swept through Lee and Winston counties April 28, 2014. From the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church to the countless volunteers, case workers and survivors... thanks for making us Mississippi Strong! Click here to see pictures of the aftermath and recovery of the disaster that wreaked havoc one year ago.

To the countless volunteers from across the state and around the nation,
To the case managers that work diligently in disastrous situations, 
To the survivors that endure and with God’s help, kept holding on,
Thanks for making us Mississippi Strong!



The Mississippi United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is looking for individuals willing to offer team leader training for persons preparing to lead volunteer teams in Mississippi, the United States and internationally. Paulette West, executive director for the Southeastern UMVIM is offering training Saturday, March 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church, in the Foundery (former Mississippi Conference office), located in Jackson. The registration fee of $30 covers lunch and material. Pre-registration is required. For more information and how to register, contact Rev. Amanda Gordon at or 662.781.1333.


Columbia Strong welcomes all volunteers as we begin the long-term recovery process. To schedule your volunteer group, call Nik Ingram, Columbia Strong volunteer coordinator at 601.803.2667. For team housing contact Rev. Keith Gaugf at or 601.736.7171.


Columbia Tornado #2

On December 23, Columbia, Mississippi was struck by multiple tornados. An unofficial estimate lists 20 to 30 homes destroyed and 30 to 40 homes with major damage. Early Response Teams are needed to tarp roofs and remove debris.  Volunteers are needed for work at a donation center and for data entry.  Water management volunteers are requested for work on lines and pumps. 

To volunteer or request further information contact Rev. Frank Newell at 601.466.2941.


Columbia Tornado 

The tornado that ripped through Columbia, Mississippi Tuesday, December 23, left many vulnerable homes without roofs. If you are available to tarp roofs immediately, please contact Rev. Frank Newell at 601.466.2941. Your response and assistance with this matter is greatly appreciated.


UMCOR Working to Help Rebuild Winston County
By Rev. Mike Dowd, Disaster Response Coordinator for Louisville and Winston County

Photo right: This UMCOR work team from Matthews UMC in Matthews, North Carolina is helping in Winston County.
Quietly, behind the scenes, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been working hand in hand with Winston Strong to rebuild our community following the April 2014 tornado. UMCOR has been doing this by helping to coordinate teams of volunteers from United Methodist Churches across the southeast and by making funds available.
It was UMCOR that came in four weeks after the tornado hit our community and began training case managers for Winston Strong. Those case managers have been invaluable in our rebuilding efforts. They work closely with their cases and find all available resources to help people begin to put their lives back together. Without the training provided by UMCOR, we would only now begin to have these individuals in place. <<Read More>>


Mississippi United Methodists Encouraged to attend UMVIM Meeting in January

The Foundery at Galloway United Methodist Church is hosting a gathering of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) from 10:00 a.m. to noon on January 17, 2015. Galloway UMC is located at 305 N. Congress Street in Jackson. All Mississippi United Methodists are invited to meet in a space that once housed the offices of the Mississippi United Methodist Conference and is now the home of Grace Place, a ministry of outreach to the Jackson community. Those in attendance will hear local and international disaster response reports from missions. UMVIM team leader training using the revised handbook will be offered following the meeting. 

For more information, contact Rev. David Newton, Mississippi UMVIM Coordinator at


United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Opportunities for Fall Deployment
Attention United Methodist Volunteers in Mission-teams are needed for aid in the following five areas:

Tornado damage repair - Mayflower and Villonia, Arkansas
Contact: Janice Mann -
Tornado damage rebuild - Joplin, Missouri
Contact: Rebuild Joplin -, 417.652.3543
"Repair and Prepare" New UMC Church Plant - St. Joseph, Missouri
Contact: Leeanna VanZandt, pastor -, 660.342.6574
Major repair for flood damage survivor - Poplar Bluff, Missouri
Contact: Robin Walters - 573.323.4045 or 573.870.0020
Total rebuild for tornado survivor - Orrick, Missouri
Contact: Jenny Solomon, 417.832.9500 ext. 311.

Please contact Dan Steska at or 573.474.7155 if you need help connecting with any contact person or have any questions.
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, SEJ is the short-term mission sending agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. UMVIM exists to promote, encourage and enable Christians to exemplify "Christian Love in Action" through short-term mission service at home and abroad.




















Click here to read about how United Methodist mission agencies are preparing for a long-term integrated response to Ebola.


Dear All,

UMVIM will meet 10:00 a.m. until noon, Saturday, October 18, 2014 at the United Methodist Foundation office with lunch following at a local restaurant.

Topics for discussion:

Update from the SEJ, UMVIM Board meeting Ongoing projects - domestic and international Domestic Disaster Response - Louisville/Winston County and Tupelo area tornado recovery updates travel telling the story through social media and web presence, planning ahead: Annual Conference

Please respond letting me know if you are attending. Spread the word!

Blessings in Christ,

David Newton

P.O. Box 8704

Moss Point, MS 39562


Generation Transformation is an initiative of Global Ministries to increase opportunities for young adults to engage in mission throughout the connection. The program opportunities available are:

• Global Mission Fellows - US2 Domestic Track and International Track – Age 20-30, 25 month commitment 
• Global Justice Volunteers – Age 18-30, 10 week commitment 
• Individual Volunteers – Age 18 and up, flexible commitment anywhere from 2 months to 2 years

To achieve Global Ministries’ vision of 500 young adult missionaries serving around the world we need your help in spreading the word to your churches. In that regard I have provided this link to a media/info toolkit - a range of materials that can be used to convey more details about this awesome program. Note:The early-bird Global Mission Fellow deadline is October 15. Applications will be accepted through March 2015!

Click here for more details.


Volunteers are needed in Winston County/Louisville, Mississippi.


Persons skilled in the following areas are needed to supervise an unskilled group of college students October 16-19: 

roofing, sheet-rock, laying flooring and carpentry. 


A flatbed/dumping truck is needed for delivery of supplies to job sites and debris removal.


Volunteer teams are requested to work in the following areas in addition to October 16 -19:

roofing, flooring, dry-wall and general carpentry.


To volunteer or donate contact Rev. Larry Hagard at or  662.803.5748.

For general information including completion of necessary forms visit



Tupelo, Mississippi is requesting UMVIM teams to assist in recovery from the April 28, 2014 tornado. Volunteers are needed for home repair and rebuilding. For more information, contact volunteer coordinator, David Brown at 662.432.1600.

Volunteers are still needed to assist with the Louisville tornado recovery. For more information contact Louisville UMC volunteer coordinator, Jeff Walton 662.617.1077 or To schedule Louisville teams, contact Rev. Larry Hagard at 662.803.5748 or


Disaster Response Updates 
UMCOR Contributions Helps Mississippi Tornado Victim
Submitted by Chris Adams, Hattiesburg District disaster coordinator
Photos above: The first photo, left, shows the job site when the Memphis team arrived. The middle photo was taken six days after the Memphis team left. The photo far right shows Mattie McDonald's completed home thanks to those contributing to United Methodist disaster recovery.
Life finally returned to normal for one resident of Hattiesburg, Mississippi who lost her home to the February 10, 2013 tornado. On Thursday, June 25, 2014 Mattie McDonald was handed the keys to her new home. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) teams from the Memphis, Tennessee and Ohio annual conferences were instrumental in completing this home.  
A Loaves and Fishes Account After Disaster
Nearly four months following the tornado that ripped through the city of Louisville, Mississippi, Kathy Humphries of Louisville First United Methodist Church is recalling the early hours after the storm when she helped feed some of the victims. The twister touched down on April 28, 2014 leaving Humphries with what she calls a loaves and fishes story. Click here to listen to her account. 
Power of We Thumbnail 
The POWER of We funded in part by your apportioned mission shares.   


Bishop Swanson speaks to United Methodists following the deadly tornado on April 28 that severely damaged some United Methodist churches. Read Bishop’s Journal to find out why he says people should ask those who have been impacted what are their needs before assuming they know.

What Do You Want Me to Do for You?

Tragedy, suffering, loss and pain, are a part of the journey of life that we all experience. It is not an uncommon path. Yet each experience is different and unique to the persons living through those tragedies, sufferings, losses and enduring the pain that life often inflicts upon them. In the face of the tragic loss that we witness others going through, we often feel helpless and feel compelled to find ways to respond. We just want to do something. Jesus encountered a man one day and here is what happened.

"As Jesus came to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the road begging. When the man heard the crowd passing by, he asked what was happening. They told him, "Jesus the Nazarene is passing by." Those leading the procession scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, "Son of David, show me mercy." Jesus stopped and called for the man to be brought to him. When he was present Jesus asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, I want to see." Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you." At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they praised God too." - Luke 18:35-37, 39-43 CEB

The importance of this encounter was that Jesus was moved by the blind man's appeal, but notice Jesus was not quick to assume that he knew what the blind man wanted or desired. He simply took the time to ask, "What do you want me to do for you?" In the aftermath of the recent tornadoes that moved through parts of our state we may be tempted to rush in and just begin doing what we believe should and ought to be done. I pray we would simply pause and compose ourselves and ask, "what do you want me to do for you?" If we simply rush in we could become more of a distraction and contribute to more injury, pain and further loss or in some very tragic ways even hurt ourselves.

If we stop and simply ask those we are seeking to help or those who are leading the effort to help, "what do you want me to do for you?" we might see a miracle and be a part of an opportunity to praise God.

So let's take a prayer break and ask the Comforter to comfort those that are not coping with loss of loved ones, property damage and displacement. Let us give God praise and thanksgiving for lives spared. Let us pray for the early response teams that are working feverishly to restore some sense of normalcy to those communities devastated by these tornadoes. Let us give of our money, our time, our resources and our love as soon as we know the places, people and institutions to which we can give. Let's just ask the question together "what do you want me to do for you?"

Bishop Swanson

Update #7

Heavy equipment is needed for debris removal in the Tupelo area. The Tupelo area was impacted by a large tornado April 28, 2014. Please contact Rev. Darrell Sanderson at 662-231-0075 to volunteer or ask questions.

Update #6

Those affected by Mississippi's recent tornadoes give thanks for the response of United Methodists in meeting their needs for prayer, supplies and presence. Your response helped to meet the immediate concerns for debris removal and protection from further damage through the securing of property.

The need for additional teams has lessened while property owners wait on damage assessments from insurance and FEMA personnel. As insurance and FEMA complete evaluations, the pace of recovery and need for additional teams will grow.

Update #5

“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’”
     -Matthew 25:35, 40, Common English Bible

The people of the Tupelo District continue to feed and render aid to their community feeding, offering assistance and planning for a long recovery. They have served a daily average of 160 breakfast meals, 1,400 lunch meals and 150 dinner meals. At least 363 registered volunteers worked 2,277 hours serving meals, tarping roofs, removing debris and assessing damage for long-term recovery.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) describes three phases of a disaster:

1. Rescue begins at impact. It continues until all persons are found and in temporary shelter.
2. Relief is designed to temporarily patch things together for survivors, buying time until longer-term survivor recovery strategies can be set. The Tupelo and Louisville areas are projected to be in the relief stage for approximately 50 more days.
3. Recovery: The United Methodist Church is typically among the first to respond and the last to leave a disaster. Areas most affected by last week's tornadoes are projected to be in long-term recovery for 500 days.

Darrell Sanderson is the Tupelo area Disaster Response coordinator and he can be reached at 662.231.0075.

Rev. Mike Dowd is the coordinator for the Louisville and Winston County areas and he can be reach at 662.803.7952 or

Funds may be sent to the Mississippi Conference at 320-A Briarwood Drive, Jackson, MS 39206 with the notation "Spring Tornado Relief."

For more information contact Rev. David Cumbest, the Mississippi Conference Disaster Response coordinator or call 228.990.4880. Rev. David Newton is the Mississippi Conference United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinator and he can be reached at or 228.216.6567.

Update #4

Disaster response coordinators and the Tupelo District of the Mississippi Conference are ready to receive day volunteers.To help, please contact Rev. Darrel Sanderson at 662.231.0075.

Update #3

Disasters happen. When they do God’s people respond in love and compassion to offer hope and help to their neighbors. United Methodist churches in areas affected by this week's tornadoes are reaching out to their community.

Tupelo's St. Luke United Methodist Church's building was severely damaged. Their congregation remains strong in its witness.

Tupelo: St. Luke UMC:

• Fed 100 people lunch and 140 dinners following the storm
• Tarped two roofs
• Sent teams into the neighborhood to assess damages and offer assistance
• Organizing for the reception of outside teams

Note: The residential neighborhoods in Tupelo are not ready to accept work teams at this time because teams would interfere with utility and infrastructure repair.


The Tupelo District Disaster Response team is:

• Offering training and assistance to St. Luke UMC and organizing other churches in the area
• Assessing damages in the Centerville Community of Itawamba County

Louisville: First UMC:

• Louisville First UMC used church and school buses to transport 120 nursing home residents to their church for shelter. Some of the bus drivers had just lost their own homes.
• Provided shelter for 50 community residents
• Fed 200 – 300 people four meals
• Distributed supplies to the community
• Arranged housing for two families
• Helped several survivors pack belongings for storage

Winston County United Methodist Ministry is:

• Working with other ministries to distribute supplies
• Preparing to receive and house volunteers

If you have a team that is prepared and has trained or experienced leaders you may contact Rev. Mike Dowd for further information. Louisville First has an immediate need for plastic storage boxes, and canned foods. Contact Rev. Mike Dowd for logistics of collection.  He can be reached at 662.803.7952 or

Funds may be sent to the Mississippi Conference at 320-A Briarwood Drive, Jackson, MS 39206 with the notation "Spring Tornado Relief."

For more information contact Rev. David Cumbest, the Mississippi Conference Disaster Response coordinator or call 228.990.4880. Rev. David Newton is the Mississippi Conference United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinator and he can be reached at or 228.216.6567.


Update #2

Tupelo area Disaster Response coordinators are working with local United Methodist congregations and their community in a collaborative effort to render appropriate aid. No teams from outside the Tupelo area are needed until further notice.

Rev. David Cumbest, Mississippi Conference Disaster Response coordinator, is meeting with the Louisville area Disaster Response coordinator and others tomorrow to make arrangements for receiving Mississippi-based teams. Roads are currently being cleared of debris. Please stand by until the Louisville area is prepared to receive teams and make assignments.


Update #1

Prayers for our sisters and brothers impacted by Sunday's tornadoes in Arkansas continue as we remember those in need throughout Mississippi who suffered the impact of several storms April 28, 2014. Local congregations are responding to their community's disaster.

District disaster response coordinators will be assessing damage and gathering information as to when and where volunteer teams will be needed. Please do not send teams or supplies until arrangements are in place. Updates will be posted to the conference website and social media as new details emerge. Check back often for further information. 

In the meantime it is appropriate to organize teams and plan for response. Remember teams may be needed for several months or longer. Funds are necessary to provide support for emergency needs and long term recovery. If you would like to offer financial support, send donations to the Mississippi Conference at 320-A Briarwood Drive, Jackson, MS 39206 and identify that the donation goes to “spring tornado relief.”

For more information contact Rev. David Cumbest, the Mississippi Conference Disaster Response coordinator or call 228.990.4880. Rev. David Newton is the Mississippi Conference UMVIM coordinator and he can be reached at or 228.216.6567.

This photo is courtesy of Pam Simmons Fretz' Facebook page after a possible tornado battered St. Luke United Methodist Church in Tupelo on April 28, 2014.

320 Briarwood Drive
Jackson, MS 39206
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