Help on the way for Virginia pastors in flooded areas

Help on the way for Virginia pastors in flooded areas

Rev. Daniel Bradley vacuums water from a flood-damaged home in Bandy, Virginia, on July 18. Photo by Valerie Ritter.

This is an update to a July 15 story.

ALCOA, Tenn. -- The help is coming for two pastors in Southwest Virginia providing community aid after a July 12 flood slammed parts of two counties.

The Holston Conference office sent $17,000 this week to the Rev. Daniel Bradley to begin clean-up efforts at Mt. Hermon United Methodist in Tazewell County’s Bandy, Virginia, according to the Rev. Mike Sluder, director of connectional ministries.

A $10,000 grant from UMCOR is expected soon to provide additional flood relief in Holston, Sluder added.

As of July 21, $3,053 in donations has been received through Holston’s online giving link designated for summer flood relief. An additional $1,100 in checks have been mailed to Holston's Alcoa office, according to Kathy Ratchford, finance staff. Several churches have sent checks directly to the Rev. Donnie Bailey to help residents with damaged homes near his churches in Buchanan County: Grundy United Methodist and Looney’s Chapel United Methodist.

Bradley and Bailey have also begun the work of hosting mission volunteers in their areas to help flood survivors.

The Rev. Kaye Seay and the Rev. Valerie Ritter were participants in the first small team to help neighbors clean a home in Bandy on Monday, July 18. Seay is pastor at Belfast/ Midway United Methodist Church in Cedar Bluff/ Pounding Mill, Virginia. Ritter is retired.

Overnight accommodations have been arranged at a community center in Bandy, Bradley said. This week, the Rev. Harry Howe and Mike Walker of Project Crossroads installed a new water heater to provide shower access for incoming mission teams. Howe and Walker also delivered cots to the community center this week.

Bradley estimated that about seven homes in Bandy need work to recover from the flood. “We’re going to take care of cleaning up the church, and then we are going to turn right around and help the people in the community with the help we are receiving,” Bradley said.

A team from Beech Grove United Methodist Church of Bristol, Virginia, is scheduled to come help this weekend, Bradley said.

In the Pilgrim’s Knob community, Bailey said he needs immediate help to tear out flooring and walls in a flood-damaged home. The pastor has been contacted by United Methodist mission leaders in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and he is identifying neighbors who need their help. Grundy United Methodist Church is set up to provide overnight accommodations, Bailey said.

Financial donations have arrived from Lebanon United Methodist in Meadowview, Virginia; Crabtree Chapel United Methodist in Tannersville, Virginia; Flatwoods United Methodist in Jonesville, Virginia; and Abingdon United Methodist in Abingdon, Virginia; among others, Bailey said.

Bailey has also shared supplies with Bradley, including tarps and plastic totes.

How to help

Mission teams to Bandy: Contact the Rev. Daniel Bradley at 276-245-3445.

Mission teams to Buchanan County: Contact the Rev. Donnie Bailey at 276-780-1683.

To donate money for July 2022 flood clean-up: Give online through Holston Conference -- or contact Bradley or Bailey (phone numbers provided above) to give directly.

To make “cleaning buckets”: See UMCOR’s instructions, then contact your pastor or district office for delivery and storage information.


Annette Spence

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

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Mt. Hermon United Methodist Church in Bandy, Virginia, sustained severe flood damage and is in urgent need of mission teams. Photo by Daniel Bradley
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