Dear Friends,

You've heard me say this before, but one of the best things about the United Methodist Church is the United Methodist Committee on Relief, also known as UMCOR. When you see a disaster strike somewhere in the United States and even almost anywhere in the world, you can be sure that UMCOR is present and helping.

For example, back in February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, and suddenly millions of people were displaced from their homes and became refugees, both within Ukraine and into neighboring countries, some even coming here to the United States, UMCOR was there. There was food and water and other relief supplies and services as families, many with small children, fled and were resettled. Many of us here at Southport UMC gave generously to help others who were so desperately in need.

I learned just recently, that UMCOR has made a grant of $2 million to help locate and dig up and defuse mines left by the Russian army. Landmines, booby traps and unexploded cluster munitions hidden to do the most damage represent one of the biggest problems Ukrainians face as they return to their homes now that the threat of violence is lessened, and the Ukrainian army is retaking parts of its country formerly under Russian control. And the United Methodist Church, meaning you and me, through UMCOR, is playing a part in helping people's lives get back to some sense of safety and normalcy. This once again demonstrates UMCOR's commitment to immediate relief efforts as well as the long-term rebuilding of people's lives.

UMCOR also immediately set to work in Florida, the day after the winds and waters began to subside. Water and food and other relief supplies began to appear. UMCOR works primarily through United Methodist churches in the area and other local organizations, with the funding provided from United Methodists from across the country and around the world.

If you've been watching the absolute devastation in Florida and elsewhere and wondering what you might do to help, one way is to give to your local church, Southport UMC, and mark whatever donation vehicle you are using (check, online, cash, etc.) "hurricane" or "Florida" or even "UMCOR". We will get those funds quickly to UMCOR, which then deploys resources right away to the places in most need.

Things continue to be desperate in many places in the world, including Ukraine and Florida, but by the grace of God, and with the help of God's people, a world of difference for the good can be made in the lives of many.

Grace and Hope to you,

Pastor Duane