The United Methodist Church is using advertising to send a word of hope and healing to Coloradans coping with damage from historic flooding last week.
The messages will reach residents even as United Methodists are gearing up for short- and long-term relief efforts.
“The people of The United Methodist Church consistently reach out to provide a helping hand, comfort and other forms of support during times such as this,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “It’s important to express our concern in personal and public ways. These ads express our personal concern through public media.
“United Methodist local churches in Colorado and United Methodist people around the world are concerned for those affected by the floodwaters, and we want to communicate our concern in as many ways as possible.”
The denomination will have advertisements in Sunday print editions of the Denver Post, Fort Collins Coloradoan, Loveland Reporter-Herald, Canon City Daily Record, Boulder Daily Camera, Longmont Times-Call and Colorado Springs Gazette.
A version of the advertisement — whichasks for donations to the United Methodist Committee of Relief and notes that 100 percent of all such donations for relief work — began to appear Thursday on those newspaper’s websites.
Meanwhile, United Methodists are responding in various ways.
A team of United Methodist pastors planned to be on hand Thursday as residents who had been evacuated were allowed back in to check on flood-damaged homes. The Rev. Emily Flemming, pastor of Lyons Community (United Methodist) Church, said she and other pastors would be offering prayers and counseling.
Longs Peak United Methodist in hard-hit Longmont, Colo., has been collecting and distributing cleaning buckets. Churches within the Rocky Mountain Annual (Regional) Conference have been sending the buckets to that church.
UMCOR has already shipped in 900 cleaning buckets and 2,000 health kits, which will be distributed through relief stations set up by the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.
“It’s our connectional system at its best when we care for people in need who may not be right in our own backyard,” said the Rev. Denise Honeycutt, the head of UMCOR.
The Rev. Gary Haddock, disaster relief coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference, plans Friday to tour area United Methodist churches that have been damaged, meeting with pastors and assessing needs.
The Rocky Mountain Annual Conference has 55 emergency response team volunteers ready to do debris removal, once they get an assignment from local authorities. That may be a few days off, said Don Falvey, an UMCOR field advisor, Rocky Mountain Conference disaster response committee member and United Methodist representative to Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
Falvey said at least two other United Methodist conferences have offered to send emergency response teams.
*Hodges, a United Methodist News Service writer, lives in Dallas. Contact him at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected].