UM relief agency needs funds for Middle East crisis


New York, New York (GBGM) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has issued an urgent appeal for funds to assist civilians caught in the renewed fighting in the Middle East.

"Our funds for Middle East emergencies are painfully low," said the Rev. Paul Dirdak, UMCOR director. "As Christians and as a denomination, we need to equip ourselves to do our part in responding to humanitarian needs in this tragic situation."

Contributions should go to the Middle East Emergency Fund, Advance #601740. See "how to give" below.

Dirdak said that this general fund allows UMCOR to respond to civilian needs on any front in the confrontation. "We are concerned for all civilians in this ongoing crisis," he said. "We have a number of options for channeling assistance into Lebanon, Gaza, and Israel. We are deeply involved in the dialogue among humanitarian groups as to how to best respond to the emergency."

 "We can do very little unless the United Methodist people are, yet again, willing to dig deep into their pockets for dollars that can translate prayers into action."

UMCOR has years of experience in working with refugees in the Middle East and in assisting families and individuals affected by periodic wars there. It has several partners with which it can work in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. In Israel, the agency relies on United Methodist missionaries to identify clinics and other facilities serving those in greatest need.

"The humanitarian aid of The United Methodist Church knows no political or national boundaries," Dirdak said. "In recent weeks, we have been concerned with families in Gaza affected by Israel bombing. Now we are also concerned about civilians in Lebanon and about civilians in Israel whose lives are being torn apart by the military action." 
How to give
Donations can be made online or by telephone, mail or by putting a check in the collection plate of any United Methodist Church. One hundred percent of the contribution goes to the Advance ministry indicated.

Checks may be written to UMCOR, with Middle East Emergency fund #601740 noted on the memo line, and placed in collection plates or mailed directly to: UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Credit card donations may be made by calling 800-554-8583. Click here to make a donation online.