Letter from Bishop McLee Regarding Appeal for GNJ Conference

Letter from Bishop McLee Regarding Appeal for GNJ Conference


November 28, 2012

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ the giver and keeper of joy. I am writing to follow up on my recent request for support of the Northeast Jurisdictional efforts in response to Hurricane Sandy. A few have asked why we are being asked to help New Jersey when New York has sustained so much damage. Let me thank you for your questions and provide a response which will offer a more complete picture of our response to this natural catastrophe.

My initial letter should have indicated that the support will center on the rebuilding and repair of destroyed and damaged United Methodist churches and parsonages in New Jersey. UMCOR strictly prohibits the use of its funds for church property repairs and as a result, there is little rebuilding support for New Jersey area churches and parsonages. Though extraordinary, the jurisdictional nature of appeal speaks to our Connectional sense where United Methodism extends support in respond to need. Many of you will remember that when Hurricane Irene struck, the NYAC received a gift of $50,000 from the Mississippi Conference.

In response to the great need in the New York Area, much has been accomplished. We are grateful to report that none of our main church or parsonage properties were destroyed. There was damage to one outer building, and several churches experienced water damage and/or damage to electrical systems. There are conference funds which will be directed to at least one church with serious damage. Moreover, we have negotiated with an engineering and architectural firm from Ohio that will soon deploy a team of twenty skilled engineers, electricians and ERT volunteers to assist in the recovery efforts on Long Island. This team will also include UMCOR trainers from the Ohio River Valley area as well as a contingent of UMM partners from the group Keys to the Kingdom. We have also met with a group regarding support opportunities from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition to request access to federal funds under the Community Reinvestment Act.

Our efforts have also produced results in support of our neighbors in the affected communities. The NYAC donated funds to compliment the relief efforts of the City Mission Society in Far Rockaway, New York. We received a grant for $10,000 from UMCOR and will share in another grant for $50,000. We were also grateful to receive a financial gift from the Indiana Conference. Additional funds have been requested from external agencies and we are awaiting responses to our applications.

I am thankful for the funds that have already come in and I look forward to additional support that we will offer as we seek to assist "the least of them," those severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

All my prayers,

Bishop Martin D. McLee 

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