Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast of the United States. Undoubtedly, the event has left an indelible mark on our lives as the Category 3 storm set into motion a series of events that took nearly 2,000 lives, destroyed an American city and devastated an entire region.
I am grateful for the people called United Methodists in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference who have responded to the call and have provided not only financial resources to rebuild but sweat and a commitment of time through mission trips to see this area return to some normalcy.
Every natural disaster reminds us of the valuable ministry our connection provides through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Over the past five years, UMCOR's capacity has been stretched to serve the needs in earthquake ravaged Haiti and even more recently, in the upper Midwest, with flooding in Iowa. This is by no means a complete list of all that UMCOR does in the name of Jesus with your help and support.
But our mission and the mission of UMCOR is one that circles the globe. UMCOR was there and remains in Southeast Asia where a tsunami hit in December 2004 and they also have a presence in flood-stricken Pakistan.
Working with trusted and known partners such as Church World Service, Muslim Aid, GlobalMedic and the Church of Pakistan (Diocese of Peshawar) with and through the ACT Alliance and Norwegian Church Aid, UMCOR has once again responded to the call.
I would ask you to consider taking up a special offering designated for the UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advamce Special #982450, Pakistan Flooding.
Human need is not limited to national borders and as the Gospel reading from the lectionary reminds us, "And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 14:14)
Grace and peace to you,
+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer