In the wake of several recent natural disasters - earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, deadly flash floods Bishop Mike Lowry has called on the churches of the Central Texas Conference to receive a Special Offering during the month of September that will go to directly to support relief and recovery efforts across the globe. He is also asking the people of the CTC to intentially pray for those affected by these disasters as well as for those embroiled in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan and continuing along the U.S. southern border.
Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ.
Our Lord Jesus lays before us the great commandment to love our neighbors. The earliest Christians responded to this commandment by giving generously and graciously to those in need (Acts 2:45). The people and churches of the Central Texas Conference have similarly responded time and time again when disaster, disease or other crises have struck our communities and world. Now, as earthquakes, wildfires and floods wreak havoc around the globe, it is again our turn to reach out in the name of Christ and offer aid. As such, I am asking every church in the Central Texas Conference to take a special offering for Disaster Relief sometime in September.
Thousands of our sisters and brothers have recently been displaced and lost family and friends due to natural disaster. The images and reports of the destruction, desperation and death that fill news reports and social media feeds are heartbreaking and overwhelming.
- On Aug. 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake brought widespread destruction in the western region of Haiti. Thousands of people are homeless after the quake destroyed more than 37,300 homes and damaged another 46,000+. More than 2,200 people are dead, another 12,000 are injured and hundreds are missing and feared to be trapped in rubble. To exacerbate the situation, a tropical storm battered the island delaying rescue efforts and several hospitals have been severely damaged or destroyed, while those still operating are overflowing and lack medical staff and supplies.
- As of this writing, there are more than 90 large fires burning in the U.S., mostly west of the Rockies. There have been more than 41,000 U.S. wildfires in in 2021, consuming 4.5 million acres – more than a million acres more than this time last year. Tens of thousands of people are still evacuated and waiting to learn the fate of their homes and livelihoods, and experts expect fires to rage through the fall and into winter.
- This weekend, what witnesses are calling a “Tidal Wave of floodwaters” rushed through Middle Tennessee, killing at least 22 and causing severe damage.
Beyond the call for a special Disaster Relief offering, I also ask that we all intentionally pray for the victims and emergency relief personnel of these natural disaster areas – as well as for the ongoing humanitarian crises on the U.S. southern border and in Afghanistan.
I thank God for the long-standing generosity of the Central Texas Conference. Your faithfulness to heed the cry of the needy has been inspiring throughout my time as your Bishop. The most recent example being the giving received in support of our Annual Conference offering. I wish to thank all the people and churches of the CTC who have generously contributed to date more than $19,600 to support the ministries of Methodist Justice Ministry and Justice For Our Neighbors. These ministries seek to help some of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our society: immigrants and children/families dealing with domestic abuse.
Donations received in support of Disaster Relief should be sent to the Central Texas Conference Service Center, Attn: Finance, PO Box 50517, Fort Worth, TX 76105. Monies received will be distributed via UMCOR to support relief and recovery efforts in Haiti, and directly to Annual Conferences affected by the wildfires and/or flooding as requested. For more information on these Disaster Relief efforts, visit ctcumc.org/DisasterRelief_2021.
Thank you in advance for doing what disciples of Jesus Christ do for people who are hurting and in need – giving of themselves. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; (2 Corinthians 9:11)
Bishop Mike Lowry
Resident Bishop of the Central Texas Conference