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Dear <<First Name>>, 
Here is what you need to know about news in United Methodist churches around the state, plus the continuing South Carolina United Methodist Flood Relief.



Preparing for Hurricane Matthew

South Carolina is once again feeling the brunt of a powerful hurricane that has the potential to endanger lives and cause widespread property damage. With the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of our fellow South Carolinians from coastal communities, lives already have been disrupted.

We pray for the safety of everyone in the storm’s path, and we urge people to continue to take precautions and follow the safety directives of emergency management officials.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) stand ready to provide assistance as recovery efforts unfold. We are a connectional church, and we are not alone as we seek to respond faithfully to communities in crisis.

The Disaster Response Team of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church – under the leadership of disaster response coordinator Matt Brodie – stands ready to assess needs, coordinate with state and local authorities, and respond at the appropriate time.

Our specially trained Early Response Teams represent the first wave of our church’s response. In coordination with emergency management authorities, they are prepared to offer assistance wherever needed.

But we know we are not alone. We see tremendous evidence of God’s faithfulness in our midst.

Still, the news during these trying times can be overwhelming, leading many of us to feel there’s nothing we can do to help. I encourage you to consider these actions:

Pray – Pray for families who are impacted by this disaster through loss of property and livelihood.  Pray for first responders and all those who put themselves in harm’s way to care for the vulnerable in our midst. Pray that communities will come together and forge stronger relationships and connections in the recovery process.  Pray for God’s sustaining grace through it all.

Give – Give generously of your compassion and your financial resources. Respond specifically to identified needs, but please refrain from making unsolicited donations of things like clothing and food. You can donate to support our relief efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief at

Prepare – Consider being trained and volunteering for recovery efforts through United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. Much effort will be required in the coming days and weeks to bring new life into devastated areas.  Consider offering your time and talents to that effort by going to

Please know that I will continue my prayers for your safety and for the safety of our neighbors. This can be an anxious and fearful time, even for those not directly in the storm’s path. As people of faith, though, we know that God’s love will triumph in the midst of loss and destruction.

Grace and peace,
L. Jonathan Holston

How you can help:

Make arrangements to check on members of your congregation and or your pastors – particularly the elderly and homebound – before and after the storm. Encourage them to follow the safety directives of emergency management officials. Try to help those who need to evacuate, but who might have trouble doing so. Emergency shelters can be found at here

Gather important documents for yourself and the church and make sure they are secure. Make copies and bring them with you if you evacuate. Secure outside items that might float or blow away.

It’s also important to remember some key elements of our disaster response plan. The best way to help before and immediately after the storm is to give financially. You can give to support the S.C. Conference disaster response here.

Your church can also put together UMCOR Cleaning buckets (also called Flood Buckets) or health kits

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, only emergency personnel will be allowed in many of the affected areas. Please do not try to respond yourself until state and local officials indicate that it is safe to do so. Rushing in can put you in harm’s way and endanger first responders, as well.

Our Early Response Teams have special credentials that allow them to enter affected areas before the general public has access. These teams work in coordination with county Emergency Management officials and local disaster response groups. They will be activated as soon as it is necessary and safe to do so.

Once you are able to assess damage at your church and home and in your community, let your district superintendent and district disaster response coordinator know of any issues. You can help be disaster response team’s eyes and ears in the community, helping us to help others.

We can send ERTs to help with tarping roofs, mucking out buildings and homes, clearing debris and removing fallen trees.

We have more than 200 Early Response Team members on standby, waiting to see how and where we will be impacted by Hurricane Matthew. After the storm, we will be able to give out more information about how United Methodist Churches in South Carolina can help with any recovery efforts.

If you have questions, please contact:

Matt Brodie
Disaster Response Coordinator
803-786-9486 etc. 265

Disaster Response Resources:

Conference Disaster Response Plan

District Disaster Response Coordinators

Sample Local Church Disaster Response Plan

Local Church Disaster Response Coordinator Suggested Job Description

Emergency Preparation checklist

One Year Later: Tales from the 2015 Flood

Roslyn's story: UMs rescued me

One woman shares how United Methodist "angels" came to her rescue after her home was badly damaged in the flood. Read the story in the October Advocate here.

Canaan: Road to recovery

Canaan UMC was one of the churches devastated by the October 2015 floods. They share their story in the latest edition of the Advocate newspaper, here.

Elim: A church restored

Another tale from the flood: one volunteer reflects on significant repair work done by him and his team at a church in Andrews. Read the story in the Advocate here.
2017 South Carolina United Methodist Annual Conference
June 4-7 2017
TD Center in Greenville, SC.

Hotel information is available at

2017 Service Projects:

Annual Conference will host two service projects, a homeless initiative, where we will build 3-4 homes for the homeless and bikes for the world where each district will collect 100 bikes for those in need.

Download the service project flyer here.
Learn more here.

Coming soon:

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