Jan. 19, 2005
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
Bishop Joel Martinez (left) and the Rev. Paul Dirdak visit a camp for displaced people in Bateilik, Indonesia.
By Linda Green*
Tenn. (UMNS) — The Upper Room, a United Methodist ministry that
provides spiritual resources to people around the world, is focusing on
the emotional needs of the victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami.
Upper Room, is "seeking the best ways that we here can support our
colleagues there (in the Indian Ocean area) to respond to the emotional
and spiritual needs of their people and support the efforts of their
churches," said the Rev. Stephen Bryant, editor and publisher.
Upper Room, housed at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, is a
global ministry that meets the spiritual needs of people through
devotional magazines, books and printed resources. Its devotional guide,
The Upper Room, is published worldwide in 73 editions and 44 languages.
the tsunami hit more than a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean,
Upper Room officials immediately tried to contact their editors and
partners in the affected areas, Bryant said. "It took several days, but
we eventually heard from all of them about their well-being and the
conditions of their countries."
The Upper Room
has editions and partners serving people in nearly all of the Indian
Ocean areas affected by the tsunami, including Indonesia, India
(Tamilnadu state and Kerala state in particular, on the eastern and
southern coasts) and Sri Lanka, as well as in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong
Kong and elsewhere. The Upper Room is localized and printed and distributed in each of these areas in conjunction with the ministries of the churches.
In each of the
affected countries, partners and editors are focusing on the basic
survival needs of the people. "At the same time, we are talking with
them about the next layer of relief — emotional and spiritual support
for those traumatized by their severe losses," Bryant said. "The
spiritual healing, along with the physical reconstruction, will be the
long-term ministry that the Upper Room in those areas must help
The Rev. Stephen Bryant
after the tsunami hit and news of the devastation crossed the globe,
the Upper Room hosted a public prayer service in Nashville. Upper Room
staff prayed for colleagues, those killed, survivors and those providing
rescue and relief. The prayer service is posted at www.gbod.org.
leaders in Sri Lanka want a small booklet of Scripture and prayers to
help with pastoral care and trauma efforts, Bryant said.
are making such a booklet available and helping them locally print a
large quantity. Our contacts have also told us they need teams of people
trained in dealing with trauma to train others, an aspect of the relief
effort that they say has been missing thus far."
In other areas, Upper Room editors are considering larger-than-usual print runs of The Upper Room
in their languages for wider distribution to those in need. Each of
these editions will need additional support, Bryant said. "We want to
make sure they are able to equip the churches to maintain strong
ministries in the face of the dire need (of) their people."
Upper Room is self-supporting, so its staff is seeking financial
support through donations from individuals and churches that want to
help tsunami survivors.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.