A disaster is defined as an event that overwhelms existing public safety personnel. Disasters bring about human suffering and present needs that are often best met through the local church. As a result, there is an inherent need for a connectional system to support local churches’ efforts to alleviate human suffering. With this in mind, the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church
established The Disaster Response Ministry
to enable churches to minister to those in need after a disaster, whether local, regional or international.
The purpose of The Disaster Response Ministry
is to provide awareness, training and resources and to facilitate communication between all involved Methodist churches in time of disaster. The ministry also coordinates with United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
(UMVIM) and United Methodist Committee on Relief
(UMCOR) to send trained servants to be the hands and feet of Christ to aid in early response and long-term recovery. Effectively managing volunteers in times of disaster is one of the greatest challenges of the event itself.
It’s human nature for people to want to step in and help others spontaneously. The purpose of the Disaster Response Committee is to tap into that readiness to help, to be the hands and feet of Christ in times of need (or even before the need). We also continue Hurricane Katrina service trips to the Alabama coast during the year.
Some of other services the North Georgia Conference provides in disaster are: a mobile feeding unit, mobile shower and laundry unit, mobile incident command units with support equipment, chain saw teams and a “care” ministry team. Mission trip activities are being developed to support needs in Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.
Many AFUMC Disaster Response Team volunteers are Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and are active supporters during local emergency fire, tornado and other catastrophic events, dealing with injury and special immediate emergency needs. CERT certification ensures skills which bolster Disaster Response Team efforts in the field, keeping our folks cared for in the event of health problems. CERT training is available through the Alpharetta Fire Department.
Our current focus, “Project Blue Tarp,” is focused on developing capable mission service teams, AFUMC awareness and building our capabilities for needed service to our community and other local mission needs.
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