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Prepare before disaster strikes

SUSAN KIM
United Methodist Committee on Relief

Early Response Teams. CARE Teams. Long-term disaster recovery committees. Volunteer home repair teams. Mission Team leaders. Are you called to serve in one of these groups?

If you want to learn more, check out the United Methodist Church’s “Disaster Academies” or “Mission Academies,” jurisdictional training that ensures you—and your church—are prepared to help people in need.

“We are responding to God’s call to care for our neighbors,” said Cathy Earl, executive secretary for U.S. Disaster Response for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). “To do that—and do it well–it’s best to get information and understanding to be prepared to respond in the most meaningful way.”

Ignoring training isn’t just a minus for the person trying to help, Earl pointed out. Ultimately, training helps the disaster survivor. “Sometimes, even the most well-meaning people can cause harm if they don’t know how to respond,” said Earl.

As UMCOR celebrates 75 years of service, it is also celebrating a record number of people who are trained, in some way, to respond to disasters and other situations that result in human need. More than 15,000 people across the country are trained to serve on Early Response Teams. CARE teams—people who provide emotional and spiritual care for those affected by disasters—have become part of an increasing number of United Methodist conferences.

Training is coming to the North Central Jurisdiction this summer. The event will be held at Indianola, Iowa, August 27-30. In celebration of UMCOR’s 75th anniversary, the training will include an afternoon of hands-on work and learning by trainees. “We’re really excited and expecting way over 100 people,” said Lorna Jost, UMVIM coordinator for the NCJ. Register here.

For more information and registration click here.

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