AWF Disaster Response Update

March 03, 2016
(Amelia Fletcher) Currently our conference is responding to four disaster events: Christmas 2015 flooding in Coffee County, AL; February 2016 tornadoes in Century, FL and Pensacola, FL; and the Pensacola flooding of 2014. The work of recovery in the Pensacola Flood Recovery operations will close March 31, 2016. We have been blessed to be represented in that 18-month recovery work by a dedicated team led by Lynn Dobry. 
Our partnership with the Escambia County, FL, community will continue as we respond to the February tornadoes. The local communities and organizations did an amazing job in early response for their family and neighbors. Thank you to Cokesbury UMC for opening up as a shelter and responding to their neighbors.
On that note, let me say that it is important for neighborhood churches to respond quickly and appropriately within that community. ALL disasters are LOCAL. As a conference disaster response team, we are in place to support your efforts as you request them to your District Disaster Coordinator and Superintendent.
AWFUMC early response teams offered help at appropriate times to the Elba, AL, and Escambia County, FL, communities. Their training and skills were much appreciated. The call for long-term recovery teams will be within the next two weeks.
In all disasters there is a busy time of cleaning and adjusting, but there is also a period of discernment and planning for the future health and welfare of communities. That is where we are right now. Those hours of phone calls, partnering, assessing, and building a funded recovery effort are not glamorous or easy, and don’t show up on the TV news reports. As a faith-based partner in all these communities we are there and will be there through the hard planning time, and with the support of UMCOR will have funding to build back the community in a positive way. The analogy of the duck on the pond is very accurate: the duck seems to float very smoothly and calmly on the surface of the water, but underneath is paddling like crazy!  We are paddling!!!
By the first full week in March much will come into place. Please monitor the conference website.
Thank you for all you do to support in so many ways.

Pictured above are volunteers from Cokesbury UMC and Dr. Tim Trent, Pensacola District Superintendent.