from Bishop Sally Dyck
Dear Minnesota United Methodists:
Like me, you may have a heavy heart as you learn about the earthquake that hit the struggling nation of Haiti yesterday.
The Associated Press is reporting that the magnitude 7.0 earthquake has killed thousands. The country is still recovering from hurricanes of previous years. National Public Radio reports United Nations’ estimates that four out of five Haitians live below the poverty line, on less than $2 a day. More than half the population is considered to live in “abject poverty,” or on less than a dollar a day.
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) leaders were already in Haiti as part of an UMCOR team visit with the church in Haiti. UMCOR is awaiting word on the safety of these leaders. The United Methodist Council of Bishops learned that the Michigan, Western North Carolina, and Dakotas conferences all had Volunteers in Mission in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, but all of their VIMs have reported in and are fine.
The people of Haiti desperately need our prayers and assistance. United Methodists are well positioned to provide direct aid efficiently, as the United Methodist Church has a long-standing relationship with Haiti through the Methodist Church of Haiti. The strong ties between the Methodist Church of Haiti and UMCOR helped in facilitating the opening of the UMCOR Haiti field office in 2005.
Please take an offering in your church in the next few weeks. You can provide direct help by giving to the UMCOR Advance 418325, Haiti Emergency. Remember, one hundred percent of your donation will be used to assist those in Haiti who are in greatest need. Not all aid organizations can promise that. This is the safest way to ensure your donation will assist those in need. Further, UMCOR will remain in Haiti for a long time to come, well after other organizations have left.
To learn more about what the United Methodist Church is doing to respond to our Haitian neighbors in great, need, visit www.umc.org. You may also visit www.umcor.org. Please note that the UMCOR web site has been overloaded with concerned visitors and you may not be able to access the site immediately.
This year, we Minnesota United Methodists are exploring the question “Who is my neighbor?” The answer at this moment is clear. We have an urgent opportunity to be neighbor to the people of Haiti. I encourage you to give generously to this Advance.
And please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Sally Dyck
Minnesota Area, The United Methodist Church