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Disaster Response Ministry

UMC disaster response team

SOS! In case of emergency.

You've had a disaster. Now what? Click button at left.

Disaster Response Plan Cover

Be prepared: Download, print, and store

When disaster strikes, electricity often goes away. That is why you need to download the Michigan Conference Disaster Ministry Plan, read it, share it, and prepare your local church on how to respond.


Rev. Kayla Roosa
Disaster Response Coordinator
[email protected]

Rev. Bob Miller
Disaster Response Coordinator
[email protected]

Michigan is ready to respond

Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, famine; anything that disrupts people’s lives and places life at risk, calls us to be the compassionate hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  The Michigan Disaster Response Team works year round to prepare, plan and equip teams so we can respond when disaster strikes.

Learn how you can help without hurting the response process and then see updates on response projects we are involved with.

Four ways you can help with disasters.

1. Pray

We are called to pray, organize prayer groups and chains and bathe those in need in prayers of peace, God’s abundant Grace, wholeness and safety for those affected and those there to help.

2. Give

While our immediate compassionate instinct is to send food, clothing and household items in times of crisis, we recognize that often causes more harm than good.  In the initial crisis phase, there is no more flexible, reliable and effective response than a financial gift to either our Michigan Conference Response and Recovery or United Methodist Committee on Relief, where 100% goes directly to aid, UMCOR Sunday.

3. Donate

Preparedness. We assemble thousands of flood clean-up buckets and personal hygiene kits during the year, so when disaster strikes, we are able to load them on trucks and get them to the right place in days. Working with other annual conferences, we keep centralized response kits ready to go.

4. Volunteer

Michigan coordinates with national, state and local agencies to bring wholeness to disaster zones. Disaster zones are dangerous so our volunteers  arrive only after first responders have completed their rescue missions.  At the invitation of the affected community our teams move in and often for years following the crisis. To accomplish this we must be trained and prepared. Connect with Bob & Kayla, our co-Disaster Response Coordinators or push the button below to learn about responding following a disaster through Early Response Teams (ERTs) and Volunteers in Mission (VIM).

Training Events & Upcoming Opportunities

If you or members of your church would like to be a part of an UMCOR-certified Early Response Team (ERT), register for one of the scheduled training events below or send your name and contact information to the Michigan Conference Early Response Team Trainers, Bob Freysinger, [email protected], and Jody Pratt, [email protected]. They will gladly work with you to schedule an ERT training in your area. Please note that UMCOR requires at least 10 people, with a maximum of 20.

Volunteer Blitz and Early Response Team (ERT) Basic Training

April 15-19, 2024
Metro Detroit
Read this article to learn more.

    • Option 1: Join the volunteer blitz sponsored by After the Storm and help survivors from the historic 2021 Detroit flood restore their homes by cleaning up yards, removing debris, or painting. Sign up for a 4-hour shift on Thursday, April 18, or Friday, April 19. No experience is needed. You must be at least 18 years old. Click here to learn more and register.
    • Option 2: Help install steps and handrails that were damaged by flooding, along with other minor repairs. Basic carpentry experience is needed. Sign up for Tuesday, April 16, or Wednesday, April 17. Learn more and schedule a time to serve by emailing Cheryl Tipton, After the Storm’s Resource Coordinator, at [email protected].
    • Option 3: Be ready to respond to disaster by becoming an UMCOR-certified Early Response Team (ERT) member. The basic training begins at 3 pm on Monday, April 15, and concludes at noon on Wednesday, April 17. Learn more about ERT teams below. The training will include a classroom portion and hands-on training with After the Storm.
      • April 1 is the deadline to register.
      • Space is limited to 20 participants, with a minimum of 10.
      • Host: Cass Community UMC in Detroit; classroom training at the church
      • Cost: $50, which includes all meals, lodging for two nights, and materials
      • Register: Contact Jody Pratt, ERT trainer, at [email protected] to receive the full schedule and learn more. 

Learn about the historic 2021 Detroit flood

The 100 Year Flood documentary follows a West Ohio ERT team into Detroit to see the flood damage and its impact on aging infrastructure. A 4-session Bible study accompanies the documentary and asks, Will people change the ways they live to reduce the likelihood of events like this for their neighbors in Detroit and around the world? 

Michigan Conference Early Response Team (ERT) Basic Training

What does it take to become an UMCOR-certified ERT volunteer? $35 and one day! That is all. One eight-hour training day gives you the basics for entering a disaster zone. You will receive a badge certifying you for three years of service, a T-shirt with the Michigan ERT Logo, a manual explaining what you can and can’t do, and lunch. This all comes with needed information by a certified ERT Trainer.

With a badge, T-shirt, and manual, you and a team of at least seven ERT volunteers will be ready when a request comes for assistance from the Michigan Conference Disaster Response Coordinator or one of the other annual conferences in The United Methodist Church. You will be invited in to get dirty, sweaty, and tired by mucking out basements, removing drywall, tarping roofs, and removing damaged furniture and belongings, all for the joy of serving God as the hands and feet of Christ. Click here to learn more about being on an ERT team.

Do you have questions? Contact the Michigan Conference Early Response Team Trainers, Bob Freysinger, [email protected], or Jody Pratt, [email protected]. They will gladly work with you to schedule an ERT training in your area. UMCOR requires at least 10 people, with a maximum of 20.

Connecting Neighbors Local Disaster Response UMCOR Training

Is your church or community looking for ways to respond to local disasters in a timely, organized, and effective way? UMCOR offers a four-hour training that does not require certification or out-of-state travel. Connecting Neighbors provides the church and community with an action plan to assess and provide emergency care within the area affected by a disaster.

Training:  Four hours (Can hold one or two sessions) *Local churches or districts can request a trainer: Jody Pratt [email protected]

Cost:  Materials and snacks 

Trainer:  Jody Pratt MI VIM/ERT, [email protected]

Please allow 6-8 weeks for registration and implementation.

When training is scheduled, please consider the option of opening registration to other individuals and groups within your district or conference.

Last Updated on March 22, 2024

The Michigan Conference