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UM churches assess flood damage

Volunteers work on flood damage in churches

Torrential rains hit Wayne and Washtenaw counties in late June. Five congregations in Detroit — Resurrection, Second Grace, Trinity Faith, Metropolitan, and Cass Community–are now assessing damage from the flooding.

KAY DEMOSS
Senior Content Editor

On June 29, Bishop David Bard reported on severe flooding in southeastern Michigan. “Wayne and Washtenaw counties seem to be the epicenter of the damage,” he said. After appealing for dollars for disaster recovery, the bishop concluded, “Thank you, Michigan United Methodists, for all the ways you reach out to hurting people and a hurting world in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Now, five weeks later, The Michigan Conference has mobilized with cleaning buckets, elbow grease, and funding to assist homeowners in mucking out. Plans are also underway for assisting with long-term recovery for the 16,000 houses needing attention.

Cheryl Tipton worked as an UMCOR case manager during flooding in Greater Detroit in 2015 and 2019. On behalf of Michigan Conference Disaster Response, Tipton has contacted five United Methodist churches suffering property damage from the most recent flooding.

She reports the following:

  • Resurrection UMC – had three feet of water in the building. Their furnace, freezer, and water heater were lost. Mold remediation, sanitizing, and electrical work needed. Cabinets and tile flooring must be replaced. Volunteers from TroyHope, a ministry of Troy Korean UMC, helped with clean-up efforts, with leadership by the Rev. Anna Moon.
  • Second Grace UMC – Trustees dealt immediately with sewage clean-up in their basement. Further sanitizing needed. A boiler, computers, and bookshelves must be replaced.
  • Trinity Faith UMC — Basement room. Needs to be gutted, sanitized, and painted. Gutter and downspout need replacement to prevent future problems.
  • Metropolitan UMC — Extensive amount of damage from four feet of water in the basement. Three boilers, hot water tank, and electrical being assessed.
  • Cass Community UMC – had two feet of water in the basement. Assessment underway.

The flooding experienced by the five churches caused damages currently estimated at $200,000. Bishop David Bard will visit these churches on July 29, accompanied by district and conference leaders.

The Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue, superintendent of The Greater Detroit District, says, “I was shocked to discover, on my return from burying my father in Liberia, that there had been flooding in southeastern Michigan and many families, businesses and churches (including United Methodist Churches) were adversely impacted.” Boayue added, “I thank Bishop Bard and the leadership of the Michigan Conference along with all persons, congregations, and community groups that are contributing to ease the suffering of those affected by the floods.”

On July 27, Michigan Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Dan O’Malley reported that St. Vincent DePaul Society, All Hearts and Hand, and Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Services will be joining clean-up efforts. FEMA has received 33,233 registrations for assistance and $22,726,266 of IHP funds approved.

How can individuals and local churches help? Click here for instructions on providing supplies for Cleaning Kits and contributions to the Bishop’s Appeal for the Michigan Conference Disaster Response Fund.

Superintendent Boayue states, “I encourage anyone or any congregation that wishes to help. Human suffering is a common experience in a broken world. And being our sisters and brothers’ keepers is a virtue of faithful discipleship. May our witness be a healing balm in the midst of suffering. Thank you very much.”