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Updated: 12 min 36 sec ago

Texas Trail of Tornadoes: UMC Response Underway

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 00:00
In the wake of deadly and destructive tornadoes and twisters over a 50-mile stretch, the United Methodist connectional system is full-response mode to mitigate the aftermath of damage to some 5,000 structures in a three-county region.

According to TAC Mission Center Director Rev. Scott Moore, the path of devastation occurred along the border of the North and Northwest districts, sparing much of Canton but hitting many small towns in the nearby vicinity. “The Mission Center immediately sent 150 cleaning kits, 60 tarps along with lumber and screws to protect damaged roofs,” he says. “A trained and badged ERT team from Rusk deployed May 2, and will soon be followed by teams from Greggton UMC and Atlanta FUMC. Thankfully, FUMC Canton will be serving as an American Red Cross shelter as well as a hub for many of our volunteers in the area.”
Rev. Jon Thornsbury, pastor of FUMC Canton says, “The response to the need for those who are suffering has been a clear testimony of people's care for those in need: from the couple who drove from Oklahoma to bring diapers, water and blankets to the man and his dog from Alvin who brought macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, diapers and cleaning wipes..” Adds Jon, “Many, many people from the East Texas and Dallas area just showed up with much-needed items. We were overwhelmed by the response of people who will never meet those who live on the country roads --whose lives were devastated  -- who are so appreciative for water, food items and a blanket. The supplies multiplied in the first 24 hours.”
“All of our local churches of all denominations have been working on panic projects to recover from the storms,” reports Rev. Alan Van Hooser, Cheatham Memorial UMC from Canton’s neighboring town of Edgewood. The county is officially open to volunteer teams and we are organizing clients for roof tarps, tree removal and clean out. We have teams and equipment from all over and they are ready to get busy!”
According to District Superintendent Marlin Fenn, the 50 miles of damage from Eustace to Emory is dramatic. “We are thankful to Alan for coordinating much of our conference ERT work,” he says. “It's a massive situation and all the relief organizations are trying to get their feet on the ground.” According to Marlin, the Catholic Church in Emory was destroyed but the Methodist congregation has invited them to share their facility.
Adds Marlin, “Canton First is the center for donations and the entire time I was there, the line of cars and trucks bringing donations never stopped. Mercy Chefs, Red Cross, Salvation Army, TV cameras and radio stations are all working hard. However, the damage is largely rural and some is not easily reached because of blocked roads.”
Since only trained and badged teams are being deployed at this time, Scott encourages individuals that want to help immediately to give to the UMCOR Disaster Response Advance #901670. “If we put out a call for general volunteers, it will be a few weeks down the road,” he adds.
Adds Marlin, “Out of tornadoes come the most amazing stories and miracles. I am so grateful for our conference early response teams, for Scott Moore's quick action, and for our pastors and churches that are working to bring peace in the midst of chaos, and hope in the presence of devastation. The Holy Spirit unites us in tragedy and the presence of God is even more visible than the damage of the winds.”

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Calling All Singing Clergy

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 00:00
For this year’s Retiree Worship service – Tuesday, May 30, 2:00 pm - honoring our Retirees, we will once again have a “Y’all Come” Clergy Choir. As we did two years ago, the clergy choir will join in the singing of hymns during the service and then will provide a very special anthem in honor of our retiring clergy, “Bound for Greater Things.” The last time we did this we filled the choir loft to standing room only with over 90 clergy singers!
I would like to personally invite all clergy to gather together joining our voices as one praising God and honoring our new retirees! Joining is easy, please come early for the rehearsal in the choir loft on the day of the service. We will begin at 1:30 pm.
Practice in advance is encouraged and easy to do. Follow this link to prerecorded, voice part specific practice parts. 
We will have extra copies of the music available at the rehearsal prior to the service.
Please contact me at laurie.purcell@strawbridge-umc.org or Craig at cgilbert@chapelwood.org for more information.
We can’t wait to have you singing God’s story in honor of these wonderful clergy!