|United Methodists reach out to Haiti in numerous ways|
A UMNS Report
By J. Richard Peck*
While volunteers are being discouraged from traveling to Haiti until the
first-response groups have a chance to make the area more secure,
United Methodists are finding plenty of other ways to provide relief
Members of Grace United Methodist
Church celebrate in prayer after
packing 10,000 health kits for Haiti.
Conferences recruit volunteers
UMVIM jurisdictional coordinators are gathering names of potential
individual volunteers and teams for the time when conditions improve and
teams can enter Haiti safely. The coordinators also hope to find
experienced volunteers who can train others.
“The opportunity to serve in Haiti will continue for several years,”
said Glenn Glover, UMVIM coordinator for the Alabama-West Florida Annual
(regional) Conference. “Even if you cannot take a team in the next few
months, begin to plan for next year or the year after.”
Beginning last September, the Rev. Adolphus Capehart, pastor of
Holmesburg United Methodist Church, began a worship service in French
for some of the 10,000 Haitians in northeastern Philadelphia. He says 15
to 20 Haitians now attend regularly, but as many as 200 participate in
special events. He is working with a neighboring Assembly of God Church
to send a UMVIM team to Haiti as soon as it is safe to do so.
North Alabama sends supplies
While volunteers are not yet packing their bags, North Alabama Annual
Conference sent a planeload of supplies to that devastated nation.
On Jan. 19, a PX-12 airplane departed Huntsville, Ala., with relief
supplies, including a satellite-uplink system, medical supplies and 10
water-purification systems. “Many miracles took place to have this
happen,” said the Rev. Ray Crump, director of the conference disaster
warehouse in Decatur. “The plane will land in Barahona, Dominican
Republic, and travel 20 miles to an orphanage in Jimani, Haiti.” He says
1,800 people are in the compound of the 40-bed orphanage that was
scheduled to open in February. Dr. David Vanderpool, a general surgeon
from Nashville, Tenn., is at the orphanage.
Medical clinic survives
An $11,000 mobile medical clinic, donated by A&M United Methodist
Church in College Station, Texas, survived the Haiti earthquake and is
now being used by 50 to 60 people daily.
Concerts for Haiti
Two years ago, the church delivered the portable facility to an
orphanage a few miles outside Port-au-Prince. Church members were
pleased to learn that the clinic survived the 7.0-magnitude earthquake,
and the clinic is now used to help the injured.
Turning the 40-by-10-foot shipping container into a medical office was a
project for 40 church members who could not take the time away from
work or home to go on a mission trip to another country.
• Connections, a 20-member band made up of clergy and lay members
from 10 North Texas Conference churches, held a Jan. 22 concert at North
Haven United Methodist Church in Dallas. The free concert, with a love
offering for Haiti, featured hits of the 1970s. To date, the group has
raised almost $75,000.
• Nearby in Fort Worth, the Arborlawn United Methodist Church sponsored a
concert featuring the Texas Wesleyan Chamber Singers, Schola Cantorum
and the Arborlawn Sanctuary Choir. Again, admission was free, with a
freewill offering for the people of Haiti.
• Some 100 people gathered for a Jan. 14 benefit concert at Portsmouth
(N.H.) United Methodist Church. Tenley Westbrook, a well-known local
musician, was joined by Billy Petty for the event.
• In Belmont (Mass.) United Methodist Church, harpist Michael O
performed a concert with a freewill offering for Haiti.
• Meanwhile in Nashville, Tenn., everyone was invited to bring an
instrument and join the Rev. Jim Cole, pastor of Woodbine United
Methodist Church, in a Jan. 23 benefit concert at the Flatrock Café.
• MorningSong, the praise band of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in
Carrollton, Texas, is holding a special concert for Haiti relief Jan.
30. The love offering taken during the concert will benefit UMCOR’s
Haiti Emergency Fund.
• A Feb. 6 benefit concert at Brentwood (Tenn.) United Methodist Church
will feature Point of Grace and Mark Schultz and other musical guests.
Point of Grace has sold more than 5 million albums, won eight Dove
Awards and received two Grammy nods.
• Finally, Musicians for Missions have announced a March 7 concert to be
held at Swansboro United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, N.C. The
concert will feature more than a dozen performers.
*Peck is a retired clergy member of New York Annual Conference and
communications director for the General Commission on United Methodist
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