Holston prepares to help Tennessee neighbors after tornado

Holston prepares to help Tennessee neighbors after tornado

Neighborhood volunteer Rob Metcalf helps clear tornado debris in front of East End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

ALCOA, Tenn. (March 4, 2020) -- Holston mission leaders are reaching out to United Methodists in central Tennessee to learn how they can help after this week's deadly tornadoes.

Tennessee is under a state of emergency Wednesday after the deadliest tornado day in seven years, according to CNN. Early Tuesday morning, 24 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the storms. Seventeen people are still missing.

Deaths and damage were reported in Putnam, Wilson, Davidson and Benton Counties. The tornado cut a path through downtown Nashville and into its eastern suburbs, damaging three United Methodist churches: East End, Braden Memorial, and Dodson Chapel.

See related UM News story.

The Rev. Mike Sluder, director of connectional ministries, said that Tennessee Conference leaders are in the midst of damage assessment. “It will probably be this weekend or later before they know what they need from outside sources,” Sluder said.

In the meantime, Holston church members and the public are asked to respond in the following ways:

Prepare relief kits.

Cleaning Kits and Hygiene Kits are needed to send to survivors and to replace Holston’s stockpile. Visit the UMCOR page for assembly instructions (see below). Contact your district office for drop-off hours and location. Holston mission leaders will work with district offices to coordinate pick-up, Sluder said.

Give financially.

Give online to United Methodist Committee on Relief, which has already begun to provide aid. On Tuesday, UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the Tennessee Annual Conference to support initial relief efforts.

Give to Tennessee Conference disaster response online or make checks payable to: "TNUMC Disaster Response," TNUMC Disaster Response, 304 S. Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 1, Nashville, TN 37211.

Holston local churches may also make donations under the UMCOR classification on the Holston Remittance Worksheet (memo: TN Conference-Tornado Response).


“Continue to support and pray for strength and comfort for those who have been directly impacted by this devastating storm,” said Bishop Bill McAlilly, Nashville Episcopal Area resident bishop.


Invite others to help.

Bulletin inserts are available for Holston Conference churches: Media: Please contact Tim Jones, director of communications, for assistance at timjones@holston.org.

Holston Conference includes 864 United Methodist congregations in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia.


Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.