UMCOR Grant Expands Miss. Disaster Response


By: Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant

Mississippi Conference Disaster Response is growing to better suit the needs of Mississippians in the aftermath of disaster. The first installment of a $1.5 million grant awarded to the Mississippi United Methodist Conference from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, allowed new employees to be hired to improve access to resources before and after disasters.

UMCOR partnered 50/50 with the conference to provide a salary for a new associate director for UMCOR and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, UMVIM. The grant funded salaries for three part-time and three full-time case managers, a volunteer coordinator, a construction manager, a monitoring and evaluation manager and a case manager supervisor. Rev. Victoria White, director of connectional ministries and communications, oversees conference disaster response and is thankful for UMCOR’s contribution to expand Mississippi Conference disaster response’s reach.

Rev. Victoria White, director of connectional ministries and communications.
“I am thrilled UMCOR saw our need and granted us the funds to bring more people on board to focus on disaster and recovery,” said White. “This is very important for the people of Mississippi, and I am thankful to UMCOR for their help.”

Rev. Frank Newell, currently pastor at Anguilla United Methodist Church and Grace United Methodist Church, will be the new conference
Rev. Frank Newell, associate director of UMCOR and UMVIM.
associate director for UMCOR and UMVIM starting July 1. Newell has an extensive background in Mississippi disaster response from the church and district levels. He has early response team, ERT, training and has served on the front lines of recovery after hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. Newell will oversee all levels of disaster response and put together teams to address long term recovery and future disasters, but Newell is most looking forward to building connections.

“I look forward to making, building and maintaining relationships,” said Newell. “I want to go into local churches and discuss what they can do to be prepared before disasters and how they can assist after a disaster event. I also look forward to building relationships with other non-profits and government agencies who assist in disaster response.”

The growth of Mississippi Conference Disaster Response will help accomplish UMCOR’s main objective, to be a Christian presence in the aftermath of disaster, for Mississippians. The funds from this generous grant will benefit Mississippians for years to come. Of course, volunteers from churches, outreach ministries, youth groups and United Methodist service organizations are always welcome. Email Rev. Newell at for ways you or your group can contribute.  

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