A Note from Dr. Bishop

Hurricane Michael

October 11, 2018

Pastors and Laity of the Mobile District,
I am forwarding below an email from the AWF Conference Office concerning response to Hurricane Michael. There are several links there providing additional information.
Several key points I want to bring to your attention:

  •  Pray.
  • Make plans to take up a collection this Sunday and send it to the Conference Office.
  • Make plans to collect funds on other Sundays – this is a long-term recovery.
  • Completed cleaning and hygiene kits can be taken to Spring Hill Avenue UMC.
  • Pray.

We have received word that Dr. Doug Pennington, previous Mobile District Superintendent, and his wife Sandy have lost their home. As you will see from the list there are many churches reporting damages and not every church has been able to report because of limited communication.

I encourage you to do what you can and then do more! Because of our connection every dollar you send will go to relief efforts. I am thankful for the churches who pay their apportionments since those are the funds supporting our structure allowing our district and conference to be able to respond quickly and thoroughly.

Let’s pray together: Gracious and loving God, we lift up those who are suffering from the devastation of this hurricane. We ask for your comfort and peace. Help us to think about others and not ourselves. Let our response to this tragedy glorify you. As your Holy Spirit provides peace to those whose lives have been altered let your Holy Spirit nudge us to give sacrificially. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Dr. Debora Bishop
District Superintendent
Mobile District
Alabama-West Florida Conference

Alabama - West Florida Conference,  Montgomery, AL

October 11, 2018

The Alabama-West Florida Conference, under the leadership of Bishop David Graves, continues to receive reports in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Communication is extremely limited in heavily damaged areas, however, we will be updating this page in the coming days. Bishop Graves plans to visit the area early next week, if entry is allowed, to provide pastoral care and continue to survey damaged areas. We ask for continued prayers for those in several conferences who will feel Hurricane Michael’s impact for months and years to come.
At this time, monetary donations are crucial to the recovery efforts. Donations to the Alabama-West Florida Conference are preferred and can be made online by clicking here or by mailing a check to:
Alabama-West Florida Conference
Attention: Suzanne Krejcar
4719 Woodmere Boulevard
Montgomery, AL 36106
Memo line: Hurricane Michael Recovery
For those churches able to gather this weekend to worship, Bishop Graves is asking for each church to collect a special offering for relief efforts in our conference. Offerings may also be taken in other upcoming services in the coming weeks. Please mail those collections to the conference office at the above address.
The conference has already received a $10,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Half of that has been used to buy gift cards so that pastors can distribute them in areas that need the most help. The gifts cards will be used for gasoline, building supplies and other necessary items.
The following updates to churches and parsonages have been provided to conference leadership. At this time we have not made contact with all pastors but thus far, there are no injuries to report.
Dothan District: No major structural damage, some heavy tree damage. Power is beginning to be restored. Rev. Sara Shaver continues to make contact, especially with the southernmost churches in the district.
Mobile District: No damage
Pensacola District: No damage
Marianna-Panama City District: Heavy damage in concentrated areas. Because cell towers are out, many pastors are unable to communicate with Dr. Doug Pennington and the disaster response coordinator. Dr. Pennington's house is destroyed. 
-Good News UMC, Point Washington UMC and Woodlawn UMC all appear to be ok.
-The eastern side of Panama City extending to Port St. Joe appears to have received the worst of the storm.
-Lynn Haven UMC and St. Andrew UMC both have extensive damage to their sanctuaries.
-Blountstown UMC has some roof leaks and lost its steeple.
-Marianna FUMC has damage to stained glass and the children’s church has standing water. The playground is destroyed. Dr. Nathan Attwood is at his home and not able to leave his neighborhood.
-Mexico Beach UMC appears to be in tact based on a photograph we received although the area is devastated.
-Williams Memorial UMC and Parker UMC have damage, we are unsure of the extent.
-We anticipate Port St. Joe UMC having damage but have not been able to receive any confirmed reports. The parsonage is heavily damaged. 
-We do not have updates for the following churches: Aldersgate UMC, Callaway UMC, Chipley UMC, Bonify UMC, Emmaus UMC, Forest Park UMC, Gulfview UMC, Honeyville UMC, Wewahitchka UMC. We also do not yet have a report on The Ark. If you have a confirmed report, please send it to hurricanemichaelrecovery@awfumc.org.
UMCOR cleaning and hygiene kits are another way local churches can help. Please only provide completed kits and not other supplies not on the list. Click here for complete information on kit assembly. Good News UMC in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, will serve as a staging area for these kits and other heavy equipment that is being coordinated by Rev. Rob Haynes and Mike Morris. The convenience of the church location will allow kits to move into damaged areas as soon as possible. Several churches throughout the conference are serving as receiving churches for completed kits. Click here for the list, additional churches are being added throughout the coming days. The warehouse in Decatur, AL, is moving kits into the area soon. 
The conference has established a dedicated Web domain that will direct you to more information on requesting a prayer, how to give to the Alabama-West Florida Conference and how to register a team. Visit www.hurricanemichaelrecovery.org for details. ERT teams are not able to enter at this time, but you may register a team and someone from our conference will be in touch. A direct toll-free phone number and email address are active. Several stretches of Interstate 10, a main artery in the Marianna-Panama City District, are closed. For now, only local emergency personnel are being allowed into areas.
The conference is appreciative of the many expressions of love and care we have received from around the connection. We will need extensive help in the foreseeable future and will continue to communicate immediate needs. Please join us in praying that God will direct us all to be the hands and feet of Christ during this devastating time.