This year’s West Ohio Annual Conference Offering will be used to support disaster response in West Ohio and around the United States. In 2020, millions of people were affected by natural disasters, from wildfires to floods to hurricanes and tornadoes. Experts are predicting an extremely active hurricane season in 2021, with a higher-than-average number of named storms, as well as major hurricanes. When disasters happen, it is often the local church that provides the first response to their community. In Lawrence County, OH, after ice storms in February caused electrical outages, a local church – New Hope UMC – used funds from a West Ohio Disaster Response grant to provide food, bottled water, and fuel for heaters. In addition, Emergency Response Team (ERT) members from across West Ohio worked to remove debris and downed trees – and continue to do so on properties throughout Lawrence County.
Following the Memorial Day tornadoes in Dayton in 2019, churches, teams, and individuals from across West Ohio assisted with the initial clean-up, and mission teams continue to help with rebuilding efforts. An UMCOR grant also allowed West Ohio to hire two case managers who, after receiving UMCOR training, worked alongside Catholic Social Services to offer case management to tornado survivors. Not long after she started working with survivors, Case Manager Halley McClain said, “This experience has devastated lives…. One [of my clients] was in the hospital for months because a tree fell on top of her, stranding her for hours, and once released she couldn’t house her therapy dog, which was the only thing she had left after the storm…. Fortunately, we were able to provide enough resources to fill her wardrobe [and] cover her rent and pet deposit, so she was finally reunited with her dog. Her tears of joy shook me to my core. I am proud to be a part of organizations that are helping survivors build resiliency and experience hope.”
Half of the funds raised by this year’s Annual Conference Offering will go to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to be used for disaster ministry across the U.S., and the other half will stay here in West Ohio to provide assistance for our neighbors in need when a disaster strikes. Since Annual Conference will be held virtually on June 6-7, churches and individuals will need to give to the Annual Conference Offering online or by mailing a check to the Conference office.
To give online, Click here To give by mail, make the check out to United Methodist Foundation of West Ohio with ‘2021 AC Offering’ in the memo line. Mail checks to UMF-WO, West Ohio Conference, 32 Wesley Blvd, Worthington, OH 43085. Donations for the Annual Conference Offering must be postmarked by September 30, 2021. If you have questions, please contact Dee Stickley-Miner, Director of Connectional Ministries, by email at dstickley [at] wocumc.org or call 614-844-6200.