We have received many questions and concerns about our churches and people in the Philippines. MCC has five (5) churches in the Philippines, all located on a Northern island several hundred miles from Tacloban, which is the area hardest hit by the typhoon Haiyan (known locally as typhoon Yolanda). Our churches there have all reported they are okay. However, many are still awaiting news from family or friends in the hardest-hit areas.
Typhoon Haiyan is among the most powerful storms to ever make landfall. Sustained winds approaching 200 mph created 30-feet-high storm surges, flash flooding, and mass devastation. The storm is feared to have killed thousands already. This same area was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake just weeks earlier, and the situation in the country is dire.
Would you like to help but are not sure where to begin? Here are two things you can do: Pray for all those affected, and Donate to relief efforts.
Please join us in prayer:
Gentle Creator who forms us and loves us, we call to You from the bitterness of loss and powerlessness. In the midst of storms, we are helpless against the breaking of earth beneath our feet and the raging of winds and water against our bodies. In fear, we huddle and cry out; we search for safety and beckon to our loved ones. Today, though the storms have passed, we are left with the shattered homes and heartbroken people filled with loss and in need of hope. No matter our proximity to our siblings in the Philippines, we all, as Your family and Your body in the world, feel the echoes of our siblings’ pain. We grieve the loss of life, and we yearn for calm and wholeness. Guide us into the life-saving generosity that is so desperately needed. Help us transform disaster into rebuilding, loss into community, and despair into hopeful exhilaration at the presence of a global gathering of friends and believers. Allow us to embody Your loving son as we offer healing, love, compassion and grace in Your name to those who suffer; knowing that as we ease another’s suffering, we ease our own. Aide us each in finding the way unique to us to help our cherished siblings recover and revitalize in Your presence through us. It is in Your many precious and holy names we pray, Amen.
Now that relief efforts are under way, our churches in the Philippines are joining together to participate. They have created a Facebook group called Arise Philippines Project where you can find articles, photos and updates. MCC Quezon City is heading up these efforts to raise awareness and funds for basics such as water, food, clothing and medicine. For distribution, they are partnering with local organizations through the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).
If you wish to support these efforts, you may donate to MCC’s Disaster Relief Fund. See information on the right of this page. We are not able to accept in kind donations at this time.
“This is when being part of a denomination, a world-wide movement, really makes a difference. Let’s show our brothers and sisters in the Philippines that we are with them, even as God is with them!” – Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Donate to MCC’s Philippines Disaster Relief fund today.
Please send checks to:
Philippines Disaster Relief Fund
Dear MCC Friends:
We are pleased to let you know that we have MCCers on the ground in Joplin, Missouri, as of yesterday afternoon. Today, they have been able to let us know a lot more about what is really going on there and what we all can do.
As you might expect, there are things that can be done by those who live closer to the area and a different set of things that those who are not close can do. Based on the feedback we received this morning from Rev. Kurt Krieger and Linda Beckstead, these are the needs:
For those who are close
Immediate relief is needed in the area of supplies. See this Emergency Supplies List of items needed. The meeting location will be determined today, and they are hoping to begin distribution at 11:00am on Friday and Saturday. The attached sheet will also provide tips related to limited services there (i.e., gasoline). Since both dates will be advertised to the congregation, and others from the larger community may show up, we want to make sure we have volunteers and supplies for both days. Please contact Linda Beckstead if your church is participating and on what date(s). Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and her phone number is 1-402-850-7153.
Help is needed in clearing the church lot. A dumpster has been rented at the church location and everything on site needs to go. This Clean Up attachment gives tips about this volunteer opportunity. Clean-up times will be from 12noon to 4:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Your assistance is requested to help this community heal and move forward by attending and supporting a church service this Sunday. We are tentatively calling it, “Come As You Are: Community Healing and Growing Service,” sponsored by Spirit of Christ MCC. We will provide food beginning at 3:00pm, and service will begin at 6:00pm. We will determine a location today and secure a park permit. The times may change slightly, and it will be an outdoor event. Pastor Melissa from MCC Omaha and Pastor Katie from MCCGSL will plan the service and meal.
For those who are farther away
As more information becomes available, we will post updates to the MCC Disaster Relief page on our website.
- Go to our website at http://mccchurch.org/ministries/disaster-relief/.
- Scroll down to the Joplin May 2011 alert.
- Click on the Support tab.
Again, thank you for your prayers and support.
Rev. Elder Lillie Brock
The following is a letter to Networks and local churches from Linda Beckstead, Member, MCC Omaha.
Pastor Kurt (Krieger) and I have been working together to determine an organized response to Joplin’s tornado, and, more specifically, to our sister church, Spirit of Christ MCC. Our elders, Lillie and Diane, have been part of this conversation, as has Terry Curry, who is out of the country at this time.
I realize so many of us want to get in our cars and go to Joplin and HELP. The last word we heard was to not go to Joplin unless we are trained in search and rescue and can provide medical assistance. I have personally been anxious to do SOMETHING. This act of waiting has certainly been a season of patience for me. However, I apologize if it feels as if the response has been slow. It’s been important to help in meaningful and relevant ways.
And so, look at this list below and see how your church may be able to help. I believe the people of Joplin will continue to need help with clean up, but at this time, I encourage this group to focus on the immediate needs that have been put before us.
If you would like to learn more about how Kurt and I created this list, read on. I put the list first so that you have a sense of how you can help now.
We have made an offer to bring Sunday service and a meal to Spirit of Christ and are waiting to hear from Steve. It becomes more complicated when president Obama will be visiting the area that day.
I will be going to Joplin Wednesday with Pastor Kurt and Zach. When we’re there, we will have a better sense of whether specific supplies or clothing items are needed and finalize plans for church Sunday evening.
If you have any questions, Kurt and I will continue to coordinate an MCC response. You may contact the Heartland Network through Kay Hale (KayHale@MCCchurch.net).
Information follows to explain more about the list above and to forecast ways that we can help Pastor Steve and Spirit of christ.
We have three goals.
Our first goal is to support the continuation of Spirit of Christ MCC services. Because the church lost its basic supplies, they will need to replace everything, from communion ware to clergy clothing.
We also want to get Steve reconnected electronically. A laptop is being sent Wednesday (25 May 2011) and a friend of the church is in the process of locating a replacement AT&T phone. It will also be important to update their web presence and so it would be helpful to support this outreach ministry. The web will be an additional way for members and friends to have current information about meeting locations.
Our second goal is to care for the pastor, his family and the congregation. Steve and his partner lost nearly everything in the tornado and will need to create a new home. Other congregants have been displaced because the roof blew off their apartment. Gift certificates might be the most helpful contribution. A gift certificate to Walgreens and Wal-Mart will allow people to refill their prescriptions. A gift certificate to Lowe’s or Home Depot can help a family buy materials to repair or replace damaged furnishing or lost trees or plants. We may be called upon later to help people move to new homes.
Our third goal is to support Spirit of Christ in resuming its ministries. One ministry is with the Angel Food Ministry. The next order is June 17 with a June 25 distribution date. The congregation may need our assistance at that time. Spirit of Christ also has an outreach ministry to community and college groups and may want help to connect with these people.
Dear MCC Friends:
Today, all of our hearts are heavy as we watch the devastation which has resulted from a tornado that moved through Joplin, Missouri, last night. In its path, the tornado has left loss of property, inflicted injury and even left a death toll of 116 people, to date.
It is also heavy in our spirits today that Spirit of Christ MCC in Joplin was worshipping when the tornado came through, causing them to evacuate to the basement of the church. While they waited in the basement, the entire building above them was destroyed. Rev. Steve Urie and his partner Heath, also lost their home.
I have been in touch with our Pastors and Network Leaders in the Heartland Network, of which, Joplin is a part. Since last night, they have been working tirelessly to keep connection with Rev. Steve Urie, organize to raise money, appeal for supplies and plan multiple trips this week to Joplin to carry supplies and hold an outdoor worship service next Sunday. Just as I am dismayed by the destruction the tornado has left, I am simultaneously uplifted by the incredible generosity and compassion of our churches in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. These are the moments when our words of hope become real through our actions.
Please know that we are doing everything we can to mobilize, communicate and respond to the needs that are unfolding every hour. So many churches around the globe are eager to assist in any way possible, so we ask that you do three things:
1. Please stop for a moment each day, as individuals and as congregations, to pray this prayer:
God, in these moments when we feel helpless and worried, we ask for your comfort and presence. Together, we join our hearts and spirits to pray for the members and friends of Spirit of Christ MCC. We also hold in our hearts all the people in the Joplin area who were affected by this storm. We know you as the comforter and healer, and we call on you to do your work in all the places where fear, injury, loss and devastation are present. We believe, Oh God, in the mystery of your power and call on it now as we pray. Amen.
2. If your church or its members want to make a donation to MCC’s Disaster Relief Fund, click here:
These monies will be used to assist in the places where there are gaps and no other organization or entity is meeting the need.
3. Watch carefully for updates from the Disaster Relief Team that will keep you informed about new facts we are receiving, as well as suggestions about the tangible ways that your congregation can assist during this time of grief and recovery.
Remember that when we feel helpless and unable to adequately respond to a situation like this one, we are people who believe in prayer and believe in a God whose power and presence are palpable. Please lift your prayers, your good will and your light for all the people of Joplin, MO.
Rev. Elder Lillie Brock
Dear MCC Members and Friends,
Today our thoughts and prayers are with all those whose lives have been lost or changed forever by the devastating and unprecedented tornados that have occurred across the southern United States.
As the Elder for the Networks in this part of the U. S., I have been attempting to contact our members and churches. At this time, we believe all our members and churches are safe, but areas around some of them have experienced severe damage, and lives will be impacted by these tragic events in many ways.
Please join us today in this prayer adapted from a service following hurricane Katrina:
God of Love and Compassion,
When the trees bow and snap under the weight of the wind,
When the rain destroys rather than nurtures the earth,
When the streets are littered with wet teddy bears, broken dishes and shattered dreams,
When it seems the future and all it promises is blown away in an instant,
Then it is only to you, O God, that we know to turn for comfort and hope.
If you are aware of specific situations to which we need to respond with disaster relief, please contact me.