Oklahoma Tornado: Bishop Hayes urges strength after storm

Oklahoma Area Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. said bishops and other concerned United Methodists have called him to say they are keeping the storm-ravaged in prayer and are willing to help in any way they can.

“What I would like to say to the United Methodist community and beyond is that we grieve with those who have lost life and property not only in Moore and Newcastle but also on Sunday in Shawnee,” Hayes told United Methodist News Service. “These storms have devastated our state and have inflicted tremendous loss on our people … and just affected lives in ways we can only imagine.”

His area encompasses the Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference and Oklahoma Indiana Missionary Conference. The area, he noted, is no stranger to tragedy or the wreckage of twisters.

“We can go back to the bombing in the early 1990s and we have had tornadoes go over the same path,” he said. “But we also know of perseverance, and we also know what it takes to pull together to get back where we need to be. I am confident that coming out of this tragedy we will find a new resilience, a new resolve and a continued hope to strive for those things that are meaningful and significant in the lives of people.”

Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr., Oklahoma Annual Conference: “Tragedy and devastation are well known in Oklahoma.”

He added that United Methodist churches are opening their doors to shelter people, and individual United Methodists are already providing help in the form of monetary donations and prayer.

“This is not a one-day or two-day headline event. This will affect people’s lives for the rest of their lives,” he said. “We are prepared for the long-haul.”

Read the bishop’s additional statement to The United Methodist Church below:

On Sunday and Monday of this week, unbelievable devastation from several tornadoes has taken its toll on life and property in our state. We grieve with all those who are affected, and we invite concerned brothers and sisters from all faith communities to join us in prayer as we ready ourselves for the long road back to recovery.

How disaster giving works

When both the United Methodist Committee on Relief and an annual conference ask for funds, United Methodists who want to help in a disaster might be uncertain where to send donations.

Conferences may set up their own funds to help with the immediate needs of housing, food, shelter and transportation. Conference fundraising is intended for raising money within the conference to meet immediate needs.

Giving to UMCOR through The Advance, the United Methodist official giving channel, ensures that 100 hundred percent of each donation goes directly to the need specified. UMCOR’s administrative costs are covered through a separate fund supported by One Great Hour of Sharing.

Read more about how disaster giving works.

Our trained United Methodist disaster response teams are ready to provide assistance once allowed into the affected area, and our United Methodist churches and agencies have already opened their doors to survivors.

If you desire to help at this time, I especially invite you to donate a monetary gift. You may donate directly online to “2013 May Tornado Relief,” which is a special giving channel established by the Oklahoma Conference of The United Methodist Church. All funds received will go to Oklahomans affected by the storms. You may also send funds through a United Methodist church in Oklahoma. Another channel for donations is the denomination’s United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

May God bless us all as we lean upon each other and upon our Creator who is seeking to heal, restore, and bring wholeness out of this brokenness.

Your servant in Christ,

Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr.

Oklahoma Area of The United Methodist Church

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