October 31, 2012
Dear New York Annual Conference Family:
In the midst of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy we can report that God is still good. There are no reports of personal injury or serious damage to any NYAC church facilities. The initial assessment indicates churches are experiencing scattered loss of power, inconsistent cell phone and Internet access and barricaded roads in certain areas. The Reverend Joseph Ewoodzie, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, has organized our preparatory and response efforts and the conference website contains a concise protocol for local congregations.
I have received reports of prayers and expressions of concern from across the connection and it is comforting to know that we are cared for and prayed for by the denominational family. Let us continue to pray for those in other conferences impacted by this hurricane. Let us particularly pray for those in New Jersey.
While our churches have been spared from major damage, many of our neighbors have not been so fortunate. In locales like Breezy Point in Queens, portions of Staten Island and lower Manhattan the result has been devastation. Moreover, those with physical challenges and our older friends may be in need of support. I am inviting local congregations and covenant groups to join local agencies and community support initiatives in an effort to relieve the tremendous challenges that many are facing. You may feel called to provide volunteers, offer meals for first responders, assist at phone banks or provide other specific services requested by responding agencies. Reverend Ewoodzie is ready to assist in making connections should you need conference support. He can be reached at 914-615-2233. The Conference has been in contact with United Methodist Committee on Relief, our denominational disaster relief initiative and they have committed their full support as we respond to emerging needs.
Friends, the NYAC has an excellent track record of responding to urgent needs. God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. Let us continue in prayer as we connect with the communities in struggle and present ourselves as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
Scripture reminds us who God is; "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble." Ps. 46:1. May we be comforted and also serve to comfort others in this time of great need.
All my prayers,
Bishop Martin D. McLee