United Methodists Offer Prayers, Caring in Wake of Bridge Collapse

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
www.umcpresscenter.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2007

Contact: Diane Denton
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 483-1765 (cell)

United Methodists Offer Prayers, Caring in Wake of Bridge Collapse

MINNEAPOLIS - As search efforts continue to find those missing in the I35-W bridge collapse and investigators seek to determine the cause, the people of The United Methodist Church are offering prayers, compassion and coping resources to those affected by the Aug. 1 bridge disaster in Minnesota that left five people dead and eight others missing.

A half-page advertisement will appear August 8 in both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The ad focuses on a visual of the collapsed bridge, with the headline, "For all the days that end in why." The photo was taken by Russ Scheffler, a staff member of the Minnesota Annual Conference. The copy of the ad reads:

In memory of those whose lives were lost,
With compassion for those who lost loved ones,
In gratitude for those who risked their lives to rescue, recover, and give care,
The people of The United Methodist Church pray with their neighbors.

The ad is sponsored by the Minnesota Annual Conference in collaboration with United Methodist Communications, the denomination's communications agency, and includes the conference website address, www.minnesotaumc.org.

United Methodist Communications administers the denomination's advertising and welcoming campaign, "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. The people of The United Methodist Church." The Minnesota newspaper ad was created using design resources previously created for the "Open hearts" campaign.

"We felt very strongly that we needed to make a community response, because this is the sort of disaster to which we can all relate. We've all crossed bridges before, and most of us in Minnesota have crossed this particular bridge," said Minnesota Bishop Sally Dyck. "It causes people to have a sense of vulnerability-of how fragile our lives are. We wanted to give a message to the community as a whole that the people of The United Methodist Church care and we are praying for them."

Last week, Bishop Dyck asked United Methodists to pray for those affected by the bridge collapse and urged them to spend a portion of last Sunday's worship services to remember those involved.

"As we mourn those whose lives were lost in this tragedy and share the anxiety of those who still do not know the fate of loved ones, please join me in prayer for all concerned. Please pray for those who were injured and their family and friends, those who are waiting to hear about missing loved ones, those who have lost loved ones to this disaster, and those engaged in rescue and recovery in many ways," said Bishop Dyck.

The annual conference is also providing worship and spiritual care resources to help those struggling to deal with the aftermath of the bridge disaster which are available at www.minnesotaumc.org.

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