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United Methodists begin storm cleanup, offer online giving option

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Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster
July 12, 2005

By Meredyth Earnest*

ANDALUSIA, Ala. (UMNS) – United Methodists in Alabama–West Florida are doing initial damage assessments following the arrival of Hurricane Dennis, and the church is making online giving possible for donations.

Particular attention is being given to the areas of Navarre Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar, Milton, and Pace, in Florida; and Atmore and Monroeville in Alabama. The Category Three storm hit those areas hard July 10.

“I am so appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from other bishops, conferences, and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) in the hours following this hurricane,” said Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, who leads the denomination’s Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference.

“We will need help,” he said. “We will spend the next 24 to 48 hours assessing damage and then will continue to pick up, recover and rebuild.

“It’s very hard to go through this again, following Hurricane Ivan,” he added. “But we will get through it.”

Although the hurricane lost strength before making landfall, the areas that were hit are suffering.

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A Web-only image by Meredyth Earnest

The Rev. Clyde Pressley is the executive director of the Alabama-West Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry.
“Despite the impression many media reports are giving, there is major damage in our area,” said the Rev. Clyde Pressley, executive director of the Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry. “Even though the damage is significantly less than with Hurricane Ivan, we are still in need of volunteer recovery teams just the same.”

Hurricane Dennis—later downgraded to a tropical depression—was blamed for 32 deaths in Haiti and Cuba and five deaths in Florida and Georgia. Hurricane Ivan hit the Gulf Coast last September, during a particularly heavy hurricane season.

United Methodist Communications has again partnered with UMCOR to provide a link for online giving for hurricane relief, effective July 13.

The link,, will provide people with the opportunity to give in the manner they choose and through the means that is most acceptable to them, according to the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive at UMCom.

Many people have requested an easily accessible means to respond quickly to those affected by Hurricane Dennis, and Hollon said online giving is one of the most immediate channels that can be offered.

Pressley planned to visit hard-hit areas in the Alabama-West Florida Conference on July 12, assessing where to send volunteer teams that call the conference’s toll free hotline.

The conference’s toll-free number to offer assistance is (866) 340-1956. Queries can be sent by e-mail to The conference needs cleanup crews and teams that can help with debris and floodwater removal.

Volunteers interested in assisting in any area affected by Hurricane Dennis can call UMCOR’s Volunteer Hotline at (800) 918-3100.

The Rev. Tom Hazelwood, UMCOR disaster response executive, was expected to arrive in Mobile, Ala., July 12 to help the conference with relief efforts.

Contributions to United Methodist recovery efforts can be designated to Hurricanes 2005 Global, Advance No. 982523. Checks to UMCOR can be placed in church offering plates or mailed directly to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. To make a credit-card donation, call (800) 554-8583.

UMCOR also needs donations of flood buckets filled with cleaning supplies. For more information, call UMCOR Sager Brown at (800) 814-8765 or visit online.

*Earnest is the director of communications for the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or


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