The bad news is that reports from Puerto Rico are growing increasingly dire. The good news is that UMCOR (and other agencies) are on it. Like Texas and Florida, Puerto Rico (though not a state) is part of the United States and Puerto Ricans are United States Citizens (I mention this because only about 50 percent of those of us in the states are aware of it). I would ask you to remember Puerto Rico (and other countries as well) when you pray for Texas and Florida.
We sent 17 flood buckets and $3784.90 for hurricane relief. Thank you!
I wanted to share an update on how we, as a church, are doing for Hurricane Relief. We’ve received seven flood buckets and $3614.90 in cash and checks.
It is not easy to find non-cellulose sponges, but we have some on hand here in the church building Jenny and I have found and ordered 100 online. So don’t worry about finding sponges, we’ll provide those (at least for the first sixteen buckets).
One of Jenny’s close friends lives down in the Houston area and Jenny has been keeping in touch with her through the hurricane and the flooding. Once when asked how things were going she said “We’re Going to Need a Lot of Flood Buckets.”
The Great Plains Annual Conference is making arrangements for transportation of the Flood Buckets (the technical term is now “cleaning kits). The church does have some five gallon buckets available to get you started. We will be supplying kits to help with the second wave of relief efforts. At this time, no loose or extra items are requested, only complete cleaning kits.
The following is from Great Plains Conference disaster response coordinator, the Rev. Hollie Tapley:
UMCOR Sager Brown Depot Director Amy Fuselier has requested that the Great Plains Conference provide as many Cleaning Kits (Buckets) as possible. Please check umcor.org for a list of items and packing instructions. All kits – ONLY COMPLETED kits, are to be at either the Wichita, Topeka or Lincoln Conference Offices no later than Sept. 13. NO LOOSE items will be accepted, as these kits will be delivered to Texas on Sept. 16. Please make sure the kits are clean and represent the Great Plains Conference in a professional way. The last collection we made, more than 50 buckets had to be thrown away because of mold growing on the inside and dirty buckets. To help to prevent mold from growing inside, make sure the sponges are in a closed wrap or Ziploc bag.
Cleaning Kit Materials
- 5-gallon bucket with resealable lid
- Buckets from fast-food restaurants or bakeries can be used if washed and cleaned
- Do not use buckets that have stored chemicals such as paint or pool cleaner
- Advertisements on the outside are acceptable
- Liquid laundry detergent
- One 50-oz. or two 25-oz. bottle(s) only
- Liquid household cleaner
- 12‐16 oz. liquid cleaner that can be mixed with water
- No spray cleaners
- Dish soap
- 16‐28 oz. bottle any brand
- 1 can air freshener
- Aerosol or pump
- 1 insect repellant spray
- 6‐14 oz. aerosol or spray pump with protective cover
- 1 scrub brush
- Plastic or wooden handle
- 18 cleaning wipes
- Handi Wipes or reusable wipes
- No terry cleaning towels
- Remove from packaging
- 7 sponges
- No cellulose sponges due to mold issues
- Remove from wrapper and place in a ziplock Bag
- 5 scouring pads
- Remove from wrapper
- No stainless steel, Brillo pads, or SOS pads (nothing with soap built in)
- 50 clothespins
- One 100-ft. or two 50-ft. lines
- Cotton or plastic
- 24-roll heavy-duty trash bags
- 33‐ to 45-gallon sizes
- Remove from the box
- 5 dust masks
- 2 pairs kitchen dishwashing gloves
- Should be durable enough for multiple uses
- Remove from packaging
- 1 pair work gloves
- Cotton with leather palm or all leather
This past Sunday we took up a special offering for hurricane Harvey recovery efforts via UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief). If you missed the chance to give, fear not, we’ll have envelopes available again next Sunday, or you can give to UMCOR online at: https://secure3.convio.net/gbgm/site/SPageNavigator/umcor_donate.html?type=1002&project=901670
While Jenny and I were on vacation, the church received a thank you note from the Salina Rescue Mission for the pillow cases we gave them. Here’s the text:
Dear Friends @ FUMC Abilene,
Thank you for the large donation of pillow cases. It may seem odd for us to have this as a need but many men use pillow cases as laundry bags and often when men leave the Mission they take the pillow case with them.
Thank You, Chad Young
The following was received from Julie Mayden and lightly edited:
As in years past, Abilene First United Methodist Church is helping to provide volunteers to operate the Summer Lunch Program. The program will be held at McKinley Elementary School, Monday through Friday, June 5 to July 28, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (no lunches will be served July 3-4). A free meal is available for volunteers at 10:45 a.m. Otherwise, volunteers should plan to arrive at 11:00 a.m. and stay until 12:15 p.m. There is a sign-up sheet available in the narthex. Please assist us in helping with this much needed and much-appreciated program.
May is Food Pantry Month here at Abilene First United Methodist Church. The following announcement by Julie Mayden is from our monthly newsletter:
May is the month First UMC traditionally provides food and funds for the operation of the Food Pantry which helps supply food and utility funds for those less fortunate. The following is a list of the immediate needs of the food pantry:
- Baking Supplies: cake and muffin mixes, frosting, oil, flour, sugar
- Canned Foods: fruit, vegetables, soup, condiments, meat substitutes
- Cereal: hot cereal, cold cereal, cereal and breakfast bars
- Cleaning Supplies: laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap
- Paper Goods: toilet tissue, paper towels, napkins, facial tissue
- Pasta: macaroni, noodles, spaghetti
- Personal Hygiene: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, women’s feminine products, disposable diapers, men’s shaving supplies, hand and body lotions, and creams
- Meats: any kind of canned meat and fish, especially tuna
- Miscellaneous: peanut butter, jelly, coffee, tea, ramen noodles, rice, dry beans, crackers, juice, syrup, instant potatoes, hamburger helpers, spices, salt and pepper, jello and pudding mixes
Grocery bags (complete list of needs attached) will be available on Sunday mornings throughout the month of May to take home with you and fill, and then return the following Sunday or to the church office during the week. Envelopes will also be available on the table in the narthex if you would prefer to donate money for utilities (if you want, you can do both). Additionally, if you have extra points on your West’s Country Mart cards that you would be willing to give to the Food Pantry, they would be very much appreciated.
So far this year Abilene First United Methodist Church has given a total of $2,401.37 to UMCOR (The United Methodist Committee on Relief). Thank you for your generosity!
You can learn more about UMCOR here: http://www.umcor.org/
A reminder that came up at last night’s Mission and Outreach Committee meeting: pencils for school kits need to be unsharpened. Unfortunately, UMCOR cannot accept sharpened pencils. If you already donated sharpened pencils, fear not, we’ll find a good cause or use for them.
Warning: this post may strike some readers as political. Though I hope it is not partisan, you may want to skip it.
In a recent sermon on Matthew 2:13-23, I compared the baby Jesus and his parents to Syrian refugees. Like Syrian refugees, the baby Jesus and his parents were:
- Fleeing from a despotic, tyrannical rulers (ISIS and King Herod, respectively).
- Fleeing from a part of the world known to be politically unstable.
- Fleeing from an area known to be filled with religious fanatics.
- Fleeing to an area where they would have been a religious minority.
- Not Christian (Jesus was less than two years old and his parents were devout Jews).
- Not Caucasian, in fact, I can’t help but think they probably look a lot like the people in news photographs of Syrian refugees.
If the Holy Spirit is pricking your conscience and you want to help, the church is collecting school kits for refugees and others like them in dire need (they will go wherever the greatest need is, so we can’t say with absolute certainty where they will end up).