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United Methodists reach out to Haiti in numerous ways

Children and teens at Grace United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., spend a
Sunday morning packing health kits for Haiti. Images courtesy of Dale Klaus Photo.

A UMNS Report
By J. Richard Peck*

Members of Grace United Methodist
Church celebrate in prayer after
packing 10,000 health kits for Haiti.

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 now.

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.

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.

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Concerts for Haiti  

• 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 Men.


UMTV: Haiti Health Kits


Photos from team in Haiti

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Alabama-West Florida Conference

North Alabama Conference

Holmesburg United Methodist Church

A&M United Methodist Church

UMCOR Haiti Relief

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