UMCOR exec going to Oklahoma

Greg Forrester, top executive for domestic disaster response for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, will arrive in Oklahoma Sunday to meet with church officials there on tornado recovery efforts.

The trip was scheduled after the massive May 20 tornado that claimed 24 lives and caused widespread damage in Moore, Okla., and adjacent areas. On Friday, another line of twisters crossed Oklahoma and killed at least nine people. First United Methodist Church in Moore lost several roof air conditioning units and a scouting trailer in the latest storm.

Forrester will visit tornado-damaged areas with Richard Norman and Jeremy Basset of the United Methodist Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference and the Rev. David Wilson, superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. Oklahoma Area Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. had toured Moore on Thursday.

Hayes offered “a message and prayer of hope” June 1 to United Methodists in Oklahoma after the latest round of tornados and asked that all congregations set aside a time at Sunday worship to pray for those affected.

“The people called United Methodists already are providing invaluable assistance in the places that have suffered loss, and we will be there as long as necessary,” he wrote.

UMCOR delivered a truckload of emergency supplies to Oklahoma two days after the first tornado and released a $10,000 emergency grant to the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference on Friday, Forrester said.

He had not yet been in touch with the denominational officials in Missouri, but noted that Missouri United Methodists, like those in Oklahoma, were well organized for disaster response.

One of the current concerns is flooding. “If they get 3 to 5 more inches of rain, we’re probably going to see pretty good regional flooding,” Forrester told United Methodist News Service.

All of the storm-related damage, from the various tornadoes and flooding, will be part of the assessment process. “When we look at their recovery plans, we’ll look at it as a very holistic piece,” he said.

How to give in response to disaster

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her at http://twitter.com/umcscribe.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 ornewsdesk@umcom.org.

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