What We Do

The mission of United Methodist Disaster Response in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of a disaster that begins with response and ends with long term recovery.

What Kinds of Disasters Do We Respond to? 

The disaster response effort of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is primarily focused on natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, fires and earth quakes. Other disasters, often called “man- made” may result from terrorism and domestic disturbances or from accidents such as chemical spills. Resources of the conference could be used to assist individuals and families impacted by these disasters as well.

How does the Illinois Great Rivers Conference Respond to Disasters?

The Disaster Response Ministries of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference stands ready to assist any time disasters are so large that the resources of the local community or the district are not sufficient to meet the needs. This response can take many forms. Expert advice can be provided to help the local community as they meet immediate needs, or as they plan for recovery from a disaster, UMCOR kits such as clean-up kits and health kits are distributed; and, volunteers can also be recruited by the conference. early response teams (ERTs) are deployed to assist with clean-up and other tasks needed by the community in the period right after the disaster (once the area has been declared safe by first responders). In the long term, UMVIM recovery teams help with home repairs or, in some cases, rebuilding homes that have been completely destroyed during the disaster. In addition, spiritual and emotional care teams can provide support to individuals and congregations as they cope with the loss caused by a disaster.

The United Methodist Disaster Response in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference rarely acts alone. We work with partners in order to provide the best possible relief to survivors of the disaster. The most important partners are the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).

Click on titles below to learn more!

The mission of an Early Response Team is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of a disaster. The team is neither a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery, rebuild or repair team. Rather, it fills a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church. It is important to understand that ERTs are trained primarily to respond within their own community. To travel to another district, conference or jurisdiction requires an invitation from that area’s ERT coordinator. All ERTs are trained by authorized UMCOR trainers and given badges. We encourage all ERTs to wear bright green T-shirts as a means of recognition.


Guidelines for Teams

  1. Trained early response teams (ERT) will be needed first. Wait for further details on staging areas and locations ready to receive assistance.
  2. Teams must be self-sufficient. Many areas lack electricity, access to food and drinking water, supplies and gasoline. Once staging areas and housing for teams is known that will be communicated.
  3. Bring tarps, tools, etc. for covering homes and supplies and debris removal.
  4. Continue to monitor email and the conference website for emerging detail.

Connecting Neighbors: What if America’s greatest asset — its faith-motivated and God-centered people — rose up to embrace the belief that protecting people, places, and ministry is our responsibility? What if we saw preparation and planning to be equal partners with building projects and new fellowship halls? What if we understood that stewardship of our bodies (eating healthy foods and exercising) and stewardship of our gifts (teaching, praying, tithing) are twin pillars supporting stewardship of our church family and church home to become the best gifts we have to give to our communities when trouble comes? Suppose we were to embrace stewardship of our church family and church property in advance of emergencies. In that case, we might be the engineers of new beginnings in our communities, the source of hope for ourselves, and the visible evidence of our commitment to being the hands and feet of God’s ministry on Earth. 

The Illinois Great Rivers Conference Disaster Response Ministry can help you make this a reality. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) had developed a tool to get us started in our preparations. There are three modules, which can be stand-alone trainings themselves or in a combination of one another. Each module begins with a 30-45 minute Disaster Ministry Overview, during which participants will understand how our United Methodist structure enhances the local church’s capabilities for disaster readiness and response. 

  • Module 1: Ready Congregants focuses on preparing individuals and families to be disaster-ready. Objectives: Participants will be inspired to take action to prepare themselves, their households, and others before and immediately following a disaster. Time: 2 hours of training. Target Audience: Everyone.Find out how prepared you are:  How Prepared is Your Family
  • Module 2: Ready Churches emphasizes the importance of protecting church property and the people within the property before and immediately following a disaster and the appropriate use of church property in disaster response. Objectives: Participants will (1) identify one or more steps to take to mitigate against disaster-caused damage to property; (2) identify one or more steps to take to prevent harm to people who are present in or on church property when disasters or emergencies occur; and (3) be able to assess the utilization of church property following a disaster within or near the community of the church. Time: 2 hours of training. Target Audience: Everyone, especially church leaders including, but not limited to, pastors, trustees, Sunday School superintendent, lay leader, church disaster coordinator, missions coordinator, treasurer, finance committee members, young adults, youth representatives, and others. 
  • Module 3: Ready Response encourages churches to explore their capacities for various disaster response ministries and to consider ways to engage community partners. Objective: Participants will (1) be able to identify at least one disaster ministry their churches might be willing and able to implement before and/or after a community disaster; and (2) initiate a preliminary plan to engage the church and cooperate with other households of faith and the community to be prepared to respond in the event of a disaster. Time: 2 hours of training. Target Audience: Everyone interested in disaster-ready congregations and communities, particularly disaster, mission, outreach personnel, lay leaders, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, youth ministry leaders, lay servants, and Stephen Ministers.

To schedule one or more of these module trainings and/or for more information, contact us at missions@igrc.org


There are three ways you can give.
  • If a disaster is in our Annual Conference we encourage you to give to the Illinois Great Rivers Conference Disaster Response Fund. You can give by clicking here or through your local church by designating you offering for advance fund 6800
  • If the Disaster is in the United States and outside of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference you can give to UMCOR US Disaster Response and Recovery. You may do so by clicking here. You may also give through your local church by designating your offering for Advance #901670.
  • If the disaster is outside the US you can give to UMCOR International Disaster Response and Recovery. You may do so by clicking here or you may also give through your local church by designating your offering for Advance #982450.



Midwest Mission distributes kits, UMCOR kits, prayer cards, resources and supplies. for more information on the kits projects and patterns click on the link below.

Kits, Projects & Patterns



We encourage you to be in a spirit of prayer for all those impacted by the latest tornadoes and flooding. As United Methodists, we are inspired to pray for those who are lost, wounded, and in need of shelter and food. We are also committed to raising up in prayer the first responders who continually put themselves in harm’s way in order to ensure the rescue and welfare of those in need.

If you would like to schedule a training at your local church contact 
us at missions@igrc.org

Connecting Neighbors Training October 16

Training will take place Monday, October 16th, from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Contact: Sharon Monroe

ERT Recertification November 6 - 7, 2023

Training will take place online on Monday, November 6th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Tuesday, November 7th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Contact: Sharon Monroe

ERT Recertification November 13 - 14, 2023

Training will take place online on Monday, November 13th, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Tuesday, November 14th, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Contact: Sharon Monroe


Contact Us

Rebecca Klemm
IGRC Disaster Response Coordinator
Phone: 708-707-7648
Email: rklemm82@gmail.com

Curt Franklin
Coordinator of Missions and Outreach
Phone: 217-529-3219
Email: cfranklin@igrc.org

Pat Wright
Midwest Mission Distribution Center
Phone: (217) 416-1306
Email: pat@midwestmission.org   

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