Dear United Methodists in the Central Texas Conference:
What a great spirit there is as United Methodists of this region respond to the needs of our neighbors from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. I have mixed emotions these days. It is painful to see people suffer the way so many have as a result of the Hurricane Katrina and the broken levees in New Orleans. People are without food, clothes, medicine, and a place to call home. They have been dispersed all over the State of Texas and to many other parts of the United States as well.
On the other hand, I have witnessed the generosity of our people who open their homes, churches, and other public buildings to try to comfort and help the evacuees. As explained elsewhere on this website (www.ctxumc.org), we have churches who are housing evacuees, churches that are serving food, churches that are collecting flood buckets, medical kits, and money to provide for the needs of those hit the hardest.
UMCOR has been on the ground on our behalf from the very beginning of the crisis in those states affected. They will continue to be there long after the media has left the people and the areas to recover on their own. UMCOR reaches those who may not have been reached by other service agencies.
In addition, Jennifer Coggins, CTC Director of Humanitarian Services, has been organizing and coordinating efforts on our behalf, along with Rev. Chuck Graff, Chair of the CTC Disaster Response Committee. I encourage you to continue working through Jenniferâ€™s office (817-877-5222) to offer your services, to report what your church or group is doing in this effort, and to find support and coordination of our efforts.
The spirit that I have witnessed among our people is, no doubt, inspired by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who reached out to people in their greatest need. How greatly that spirit has been needed in this crisis, and how greatly it will be needed in the months ahead as many of these people and others will need comfort, support, and encouraging words. You are a great people of faith, and I am confident that you will continue to step forward when the need presents itself.
Ben R. Chamness, Bishop
Fort Worth Area
Central Texas Conference