God is Our Refuge and Strength


Dear Friends in Christ:
Since Jan. 12 I have read or recited portions of Psalm 46. God indeed is our refuge and strength. We have all leaned upon these verses as we have stood in solidarity with the people of Haiti and the people that we know who are connected to this devastating tragedy.

While attending the memorial service for one of the UMCOR executives who was killed in the collapse of the Montana Hotel in Port-au-Prince was moved in my spirit about the power of faith to sustain us in life's most difficult moments. The service for the Rev. Sam Dixon quickened my faith in the work of the Spirit that both comforts and sends into service. The witness of the Rev. Jim Gulley was an unbelievable powerful mix of narrative, personal testimony, grief processing and theological reflection on tragedy. I know I will continue along with you to hold Haiti and the countless families known and unknown to us who are grieving the loss of loved ones, homes and possessions.

I solicit not only your continued prayers but also your gifts and energy to assist with the long haul of recovery. The attention that is needed is both short- and long-term. Occasionally you hear calculations about attention span in the news cycles. When Haiti is no longer the lead story it will not be a sign that the work is complete. The tsunami at the end of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina have taught us that well.

To this end, you can be confident of the extraordinary work that UMCOR does. A part of their well-earned, excellent reputation is that they are seen as the body that is in it for the long haul. So we will have the opportunity for a long time to come to be a part of the story of the healing of Haiti. Thank you for being the hands, feet, mind and heart of Jesus Christ in healing brokenness in your community every day and in Haiti right now.

Your servant in Jesus Christ,
Gregory V. Palmer
Illinois Episcopal Area, the United Methodist Church