by Jim Antal
A little over a week ago, typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. Millions of people have been displaced and the projected death toll is in the thousands. There are villages and regions that still remain unreachable.
Two days ago, more than a dozen devastating tornados plowed through numerous states in the Midwest . Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and several deaths have been reported.
Our partner churches in the Philippines and UCC churches in the Midwestern US are working in the midst of chaos to bring comfort and assistance. And as we know from our own tornado experience in Monson, their work will continue for the long haul throughout the months and years of recovery. Your past giving to One Great Hour of Sharing is what allows the UCC to respond immediately to these disasters. However, your solidarity expressed in prayers and generosity will allow these churches to continue to respond to these tragedies in the months ahead.
If your congregation has already taken a collection to help with the Typhoon Haiyan victims – thank you! Your generosity will help the UCC to meet our goal of raising $250,000 in response to Typhoon Haiyan. Your church – and individuals – can contribute here: http://www.ucc.org/disaster/typhoon-haiyan/ If you are able to take a collection for the communities in the Midwest which have been ravaged, please do so. We will post (on www.macucc.org ) where those contributions can be sent as soon as we have that information. Remember that because our support is given through OCWM, 100% of these donations go directly into services and assistance.
Although disaster seems to come after disaster, and we may feel the burden of continued response, we do well to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, when he wrote, "So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9 NRSV). Giving generously to the urgent needs of the world is what we are called to do.
And there is something else we are called to do: we are called to seek systemic change. Climate scientists tell us that what these storms have in common is that they are part of a world-wide increase in frequency and severity of storms – something that climate change is accelerating. The Massachusetts Conference and our denomination are the leaders in this witness. Join with those churches already engaged in learning about and responding to climate change.
Thank you for all the support and help you are providing.
For the Disaster Resource Team:
Rev. Jim Tilbe and Rev. Don Remick (MACUCC Disaster Coordinators)
Rev. Dr. Jim Antal (MACUCC Minister and President)
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