|Stars come out for church’s hurricane relief benefit|
|A UMNS photo by Rachel Rogers-Berry
The Rev. Patricia Farris is flanked by (from left) Dana Collins, Jackson Browne and Dave Koz.
Oct. 5, 2005
By United Methodist News Service
of pop music’s best-known names helped a United Methodist congregation
raise nearly $35,000 for the denomination’s hurricane response.
Browne, k.d. lang, Dave Koz and Judith Owen were among the performers
at “Songs of Strength,” a benefit concert for the victims of Hurricane
Katrina, held Sept. 25 at First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica,
Calif. The concert also featured Kyle Eastwood, Keaton Simons and the
Gwen Wyatt Chorale.
Nearly 1,000 people packed the church’s sanctuary to hear the concert.
funds will support the churchwide response to the devastation caused by
hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. The United Methodist
Committee on Relief has received $11 million in contributions for
hurricane relief as of Oct. 3, and 100 percent of the money is going
directly to the recovery work.
of Strength” was organized by church member Dana Collins, a music
producer with Direct Management, and Jim Smith, the church’s director of
church has a strong tradition of community-wide concerts and music,”
said the Rev. Patricia Farris, senior minister, “and we thought a
benefit concert would build on that and allow us to use the best of our
resources to meet this great need. What we couldn’t have foreseen was
how quickly and generously the artists and the whole community would
“We were all especially touched at the reaction of all the artists, their bands and tech crews, so many of whom thanked us for pulling the benefit together,” she said. “As Jackson Browne asked: ‘Why don’t more churches do this?’”
tribute to the musical culture of the Gulf Coast, the artists offered
their own “songs of strength” to the audience, which included three
families evacuated from New Orleans.
lang’s opening remarks reflected the spirit of the event,” Farris said.
Thanking the congregation and church staff for hosting the concert,
lang said: “I am a Buddhist, and as Buddhists and Christians, we know
that compassion is what this is all about — our love and compassion for
Web site, songsofstrength.org and songsofstrength.com, was created
before the concert, enabling people to see new artists as they were
added to the play list, buy tickets and make contributions. Since
everything related to the show was donated — including printing, food,
tech support and the artists’ performances — 100 percent of the proceeds
went to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
ticket sales and donations made at the time of ticket purchase, close
to $35,000 was raised through the event, with additional donations made
directly to UMCOR through the site. The church had a suggested minimum
donation of $25 per ticket.
church is following up with opportunities for worship, prayer,
discussion and work teams to the Gulf Coast. Commemorative posters
signed by the artists are being auctioned on eBay, with the proceeds
going to UMCOR.
on a theme of the denomination’s advertising ministry, the church
placed two large “Be the hope” banners in the front of the sanctuary and
over the door.
up to us now to be the hope for all those whose lives have been turned
inside out by the hurricanes,” Farris told the concertgoers. “For
renewed cities. For a compassionate nation. Be the hope. Together, let’s
be the hope.”
$11 million given to UMCOR includes donations covering both Hurricane
Katrina, which struck Aug. 29, and Hurricane Rita, which came ashore
Sept. 24. Of the total, $2.7 million has come through Internet and
telephone contributions, and the remaining $8.3 million has come by
check, according to Roland Fernandes, treasurer of the United Methodist
Board of Global Ministries, parent agency of UMCOR.
Methodist generosity to those in crisis is amazing, but it is not
surprising,” Fernandes said. “We have a firm belief in this church that
we serve Jesus Christ when we serve those in need.”
may designate their gifts for areas affected by Hurricane Katrina or by
Hurricane Rita, or to those places most in need. Donations can also be
earmarked for particular states.
is providing two giving numbers through The Advance for Christ and His
Church for hurricane relief. Checks should be made out to UMCOR and
designated for “UMCOR Advance #982523 Hurricane Katrina” or “UMCOR
Advance #901323 Hurricane Rita.” Both numbers or one number and the word
“both” can be given for general assistance. Tax-deductible checks may
be placed in church offering plates or mailed directly to UMCOR, P.O.
Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Credit-card gifts can be made by calling
(800) 554-8583 or going online to www.methodistrelief.org.
for this report was provided by the Rev. Patricia Farris, First United
Methodist Church in Santa Monica, Calif., and Elliott Wright, United
Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2005 Hurricane Response: United Methodist Committee on Relief
UMCOR: Hurricanes 2005
Archived Stories and Relief Resources
Songs of Strength