Sept. 7, 2004
By United Methodist News Service
Frances roared over Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church in Riviera
Beach, Fla., like a "wild animal," taking off half the roof and filling
the sanctuary with rain.
wind flipped half of our roof off and put it on top of the other half,"
said the Rev. Cleveland English, pastor of the predominantly
poured in through the damaged roof and ruined everything inside the
sanctuary, English said. With yet another storm predicted to hit
Florida, he said he is not sure when cleanup can begin.
have been in a lot of storms, but this was something else," he said.
English was at the parsonage a few miles from the church when Frances
roared through. "It sounded like a wild animal trying to get in. With
the help of the Lord, our roof held together."
Frances swept through Florida over the weekend, leaving behind a
"patchwork quilt" of fallen shingles, downed trees and other debris.
"Shingles are everywhere," said the Rev. Debbie McLeod, superintendent of the Broward Palm Beach District.
conditions are hazardous, most of the traffic signals are out, and
there is a growing sinkhole on Interstate 95," she said.
said continuing rainfall is adding more misery to many of the churches
that sustained extensive roof damage. One of the hardest-hit churches
was Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church in Riviera Beach, Fla.
"I am proud of our pastors and laity, who are coping very well and helping their neighbors," McLeod said.
arrival in Florida marks the first time in 100 years that two major
hurricanes have hit the state within a three-week span. Ivan, the fifth
hurricane of the season, had sustained winds of nearly 115 miles per
hour and was centered 110 miles south-southeast of Barbados on Sept. 7.
It was still about 1,670 miles away from Miami.
Frances weakened to a tropical depression as it moved northward across
Georgia. Up to a foot of rain fell on parts of Georgia, the National
Weather Service said.
least 14 deaths have been blamed on the storm in Florida and Georgia,
according to the Associated Press. More than 3 million people were
without electricity in Florida, and in Georgia, more than 500,000 homes
and businesses were without electricity Sept. 7.
teams coordinated by the Florida Annual (regional) Conference of the
United Methodist Church - and supported by the United Methodist
Committee on Relief - were planning to work with other faith-based
groups to assist with cleanup, according to Disaster News Network.
World Service was also redeploying disaster response and recovery
liaisons who have been identifying long-term needs since Hurricane
and the church’s Florida Conference are still responding to Hurricane
Charley, which struck Aug. 13 on the Gulf Coast, leaving 27 people dead
and billions in damages.
relief agency has issued an urgent call for flood buckets containing
supplies that volunteers use in post-hurricane cleanups. Details on
assembling the 5-gallon buckets can be found at umcor.org online by
clicking on the "Kits" link.
need thousands more flood buckets," said Linda Beher, communications
director for the relief agency in New York, Sept. 7. "UMCOR is getting
to Florida today and will begin assessing the damage."
gifts are critical during the initial response, UMCOR said. Donations
pay for trained disaster workers from the agency’s network and the
Florida Conference to locate as many survivors as possible following the
storm. The church workers talk with survivors about needs as well as
possible benefits available through the Federal Emergency Management
needing help, as well as volunteers who want to assist in the relief
effort, can call the Florida Storm Recovery Center operated by UMCOR and
the Florida Conference at (800) 282-8011, Ext. 149.
addition, people needing help can call any United Methodist church for
assistance, Beher said. "The caller doesn’t have to be a United
Methodist for UMCOR to respond."
Florida United Methodist Foundation has created two emergency loan
programs for churches affected by Hurricanes Charley and Frances.
Details are available by calling the foundation at (800) 282-8011, Ext.
106; writing to email@example.com; or visiting www.fumf.org online.
for relief may be made to UMCOR Advance #982410, "Hurricanes 2004," and
dropped into church offering plates or mailed to UMCOR, 475 Riverside
Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115. People donating by credit card can
call (800) 554-8583.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.