UMCOR is at Work Around the World!

“How can we help?”  There are many crises around the world right now that make your heart ache but it’s hard to know how to offer help and hope.  UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief) is hard art work in many locations, and your prayers and  financial support make this possible.  You can donate to UMCOR in general or to specific projects, which are called Advances.  Read on for details on support projects and how to contribute to specific advances.
The United Methodist Church Responds to the Ebola Crisis
August 7, 2014—The United Methodist Church has been present with the people of West Africa since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic this spring. As the disease picks up speed, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is ramping up its response. A total of $87,000 in grant money has been distributed, and UMCOR stands ready to fund additional projects. Our healthcare networks have been activated to get the word out about prevention and treatment. Lifesaving supplies and protective equipment are on their way to Sierra Leone and Liberia right now.

As the Ebola virus spreads in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, The United Methodist Church continues to be present and respond through West African United Methodist church leaders and regional health boards, denominational health facilities, missionaries, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  The church has three hospitals and five clinics in Sierra Leone and one hospital and three clinics in Liberia.
Updates on UMCOR’s work in response to Ebola  are available if you click on the green links: August 7 and August 5 .
Your gift to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, empowers UMCOR to continue its crucial work in the fight against Ebola and in response to other natural and human-caused disasters.
UUMCOR Responds to the Immigration Crisis
June 25, 2014—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) responded today to a plea by the Southwest Texas Conference/Rio Grande Conference for emergency assistance to meet urgent needs of a “rising flow” of refugees crossing into the United States from Mexico.
In response to an appeal by Bishop James E. Dorff, who heads the joined conferences, Greg Forrester, UMCOR executive in charge of U.S. Disaster Response, expedited an emergency grant and told Bishop Dorff, “Our prayers are with you and the conference as you respond to this humanitarian crisis.”
In a letter to UMCOR that detailed Bishop Dorff’s request, the Rev. Laura Merrill, a United Methodist district superintendent who oversees two districts at the border, described “a refugee crisis, with large numbers of women with children and unaccompanied children crossing our border in search of safe haven.”
Rev. Merrill said the communities of the districts she oversees “are all involved in interfaith response,” providing “welcome centers” that offer showers, a change of clothes, food, basic medical care and when possible, a place to sleep overnight.  Click here for more information on the Immigration Crisis and Texas Churches’ Response.  To support this work financially make a contribution to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response, Advance #901670 .
Ukraine Conflict Relief
This is an excerpt from John Calhoun, missionary in Ukraine.
As you are aware, it has been an extremely difficult time for the people of Ukraine.  The shooting down of a civilian aircraft over eastern Ukraine killed 298 innocent people from 10 countries.  The intense fighting between Ukrainian military forces and separatist rebels in the region leaves many dead and hundreds displaced each day. Recent ceasefires have been short-lived, and a diplomatic path away from violence and toward peace remains elusive.
The eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk has been the site of particularly intense battles in recent days.  A lay leader of the local UMC congregation in Luhansk reports that church members are safe, but that more than half of the members have fled the city, seeking shelter among relatives and friends outside the conflict zone.
Local UMC congregations in other parts of Ukraine and in western Russia are helping the displaced in ways large and small, including raising funds for relief efforts in eastern Ukraine and providing shelter and food to recent arrivals from the conflict zone.
In Kyiv, our local congregations have expanded their ministry to persons displaced by the conflict.  Last week, the UMC in Ukraine received a grant from UMCOR  to provide emergency food assistance to families who have fled Crimea in recent months and taken shelter in a refugee center in Kyiv.
Some people I spoke with found it ‘strange’ (in a good way) that some far away church organization based in America is willing to support them.  My personal hope is that through this, these people will be able to see Jesus’ love from us, and perhaps would be willing to know more about it.  The full letter from John Calhoun is available and his Advance number is #13970Z.
   Middle East
Mrs. Jalele Ayyad, a 60-year-old Palestinian Christian woman in Gaza, was killed when an Israeli missile hit her house earlier this week. According to General Board of Global Ministries missionary the Rev. Alex Awad, who serves in Bethlehem, “The family received a warning but before they could run, a deadly missile hit the house, killed Jalele, injured her husband, and crippled their son.”
As story after heartbreaking story continues to come out of Israel and Palestine, and in particular Gaza, people of faith are praying for peace.  Reports indicate that as of July 30, there have been more than 1,300 Palestinians killed, most of them civilians. On the Israeli side, 56 Israeli soldiers, and three civilians have been killed.
Jorge Lockward who leads the United Methodist Global Praise program offered some guidance for concerned people who want to respond.  “The first, unavoidable, necessary, indispensable step is finding a way—any way—of being present. Present to the heart of God. Present to each other. Present to God’s children in Gaza,” he said.
On August 7 and 8, United Methodists, along with representatives of Palestinian Christian communities, including Awad, will gather at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio to explore how to be present, particularly with Palestinian Christians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.  
Link above will provide other links as well.