MOORE, Okla. (UMNS)—The Rev. D.A. Bennett, pastor of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, was one of the anxious parents with children in South Moore High School waiting to hear if his son had survived the May 20 tornado. Even as he learned of his child’s safety, he grieved for parents that lost children in the deadly storm.
A woman and her 5-month-old child were killed in a nearby store. Bennett said he got word today her family wanted to have her funeral at St. Andrew’s.
Bennett said he stood outside his church as the tornado touched down blocks from his house and from the elementary schools where his two younger daughters were. As soon as it passed, he raced to get his wife and daughters and they headed for the high school to get their oldest son. They were unable to get to the school but later a bus brought the students to St. Andrew’s.
He said he wanted to go get his son but if he had, he probably would have been near the store at the moment the young mother was.
“She had gone to pick up her child because she wanted to be with him in the storm. People say she was crazy or even reckless … I say she loved her child that much and wanted to protect him.
“If we as parents love our children that much, how much more does God love us?”
When asked what he would ask people to do, he said pray. “Do not underestimate how desperately we need prayers.” St. Andrew’s will be holding a community prayer service at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, in their worship center.
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.