A Letter from Bishop McLee - Recent Tragic Events

A Letter from Bishop McLee - Recent Tragic Events

5/22/2013

Beloved NYAC Family,

The paradox that sometimes unfolds in nature has resulted in a tornado that has brought devastation to the state of Oklahoma. In the aftermath of the recent tornado, we are called to pray for the victims, the first responders and for the city of Moore, Oklahoma. In the New York area we have experienced similar natural catastrophes and we can testify that prayer is helpful. I invite you to pray.

News accounts reveal the loss of the lives of children and adults and a critical loss of property. Cited property losses during the tornado include three public schools and one local hospital that were either severely damaged or destroyed.

As we pray, I invite you to offer additional support as well. The New York Annual Conference has sent a financial contribution to support the emergency relief efforts of the Oklahoma Annual Conference. Please note that Oklahoma officials have requested that clothes and other items not be sent at this time.
Please join the NYAC efforts by sending a congregational or personal donation in one of the following ways:

  • Online at www.UMCOR.org. Connect to the Tornado Response link.
  • Text the word “RESPONSE” to 80888 or call 1-800-554-8583 to make an immediate $10 donation to support recovery efforts.
  • Send a check to Conference Treasurer’s Office, 1501 NW 24th Street, Oklahoma City, OK, 73106-3635. Note “2013 May Tornado Relief” on the memo line of your check.
  • Write a check to your church and include the Advance # 901670 in the memo line.

 NYAC, as we lead by example, know that our efforts make a difference.

As nature was unfolding damage in Oklahoma, humanity was revealing a side of cruelty in New York. There has been an unfortunate recent rash of violent crimes against gay men in various parts of New York City. In one situation, after an incident of harassment which included the hurling of anti-gay slurs, Mark Carson was shot to death. While the perpetrator has been arrested, the problem of bias crimes directed at members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered and Questioning Community (hereinafter GLBTQ) continues.

As Christians, we are called to respond. Let us begin by offering prayers for the victims and families of those harmed by hate crimes. I encourage pastors to provide anti-bias leadership by teaching and preaching about the harm of directing violence against anyone. It may be helpful to organize forums where open conversations can be held in safe spaces for members of the GLBTQ community, supporters and those who simply refuse to accept the recent rise in anti-gay acts of violence. The many Reconciling or Welcoming Congregations in the NYAC can serve as helpful resources. For additional resources, you may contact the New York City Anti Violence-Project at (212) 714-1184 or at the 24 hour hotline at (212) 714-1141.

As United Methodists, we don’t always agree on all matters and that is OK. However, I am confident that we do agree that we are called to support those who have been harmed by natural calamity or by human intolerance. As we respond to the difficulties of these days let us consider the instruction of Paul: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of the Lord’s might.” (Ephesians 6:10).

All my prayers,

Bishop Martin D. McLee