Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. issued the following letter asking United Methodists in the Great Plains Conference to donate money for relief for people impacted by Hurricane Ian.
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Sisters and Brothers of the Great Plains Conference:
Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ.
I know you have been joining me in prayer for the people devastated by Hurricane Ian. It’s landfall last week near Fort Myers, Florida, left a wide swath of destruction that will take months, if not years, to clean up and restore.
We mourn most especially for the more than 100 people who have died from injuries sustained during the storm. Unfortunately, that death toll is expected to continue to rise.
This hurricane destroyed critical infrastructure. As a result, some areas of the state still cannot be accessed by emergency personnel, hindering rescue and life-saving efforts. In some areas, bridges were washed away. In others, water still covers normally dry landscapes as though they are lakes. And of course, many homes and businesses were destroyed or badly damaged by 150 mph winds and torrential rains.
I invite all United Methodists in Kansas and Nebraska to continue to pray for healing and restoration for the people impacted by this terrible storm. And I also ask that you show compassion by making a financial donation to the response and recovery effort by giving directly to the Florida Annual Conference. This effort will cut through red tape and provide disaster response personnel the opportunity to provide aid as completely and as efficiently as possible.
At this time, there is no need for UMCOR cleaning kits, primarily because the damage is so complete that few homes need cleaning but instead must be rebuilt. And our conference’s Early Response Teams will deploy to Florida to assist in any way they can once colleagues in the Florida Conference tell us it’s time to deploy. Rev. Hollie Tapley, our disaster response coordinator, will provide updates as details become available, so please check the conference’s Facebook page and website often.
Recovery in Florida will be a long and arduous process. I ask that you help in that effort by donating financially as you can to help people in need begin to rebuild their lives.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.
Great Plains Conference