Holston Conference is sending three "Early Response Teams" to Louisiana to assist in the clean-up effort following Hurricane Gustav.
Early Response Teams members are trained by UMCOR certified instructors and respond to natural disasters on short notice with a mission to “Provide a Caring Christian Presence in the Aftermath of a Disaster." (The next ERT training date is Nov. 15. Find out more.)
On Monday, Sept. 15, the first team departed Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Led by the Rev. Dave Henderson (Trinity Wise UMC, Big Stone Gap District), the team is also comprised of the Rev. Mark Hicks (Chestnut Grove-Ebenezer UMC, Morristown District) and the Rev. Doug Jennings (Romeo UMC, Morristown District). The team traveled to Baton Rouge, La., where they are lodging at the First United Methodist Church.
The Holston teams will be directed by the Louisiana Disaster Team to sites for chainsaw work and debris removal, according to Jim Hayes, southern coordinator for Holston's ERT response. "The teams may also install temporary tarps on roofs," Hayes said.
On Sept. 18, the second ERT departs from the Cokesbury Center. Members include Ralph Brock (Ooltewah UMC, Cleveland District); Murrel Jarnigan (Chestnut Grove UMC, Morristown District), and Kimberly Adelman (Cherokee UMC, Johnson City District). The team will arrive late Sept. 18 and briefly visit with the first team. The first team departs for Holston early Sept. 19.
The third team departs Cokesbury Center on Sept. 21. Members include Frank Chandler (Red Oak Union UMC, Tazewell District), Nancy Saylors (Middlebrook Pike UMC, Knoxville District), Phil Fairchild (Central Lenoir City UMC, Oak Ridge District), and Steve King. This team will arrive late Sept. 21, visiting with the second team.
second team will depart for Holston early Sept. 22. The third team will
depart from Baton Rouge early Sept. 25, bringing the ERT trailer with
"The work of the Holston Conference Early Response Team is the work that God has called us to do," Hayes said. "May God continue to bless our efforts. Please continue to pray for people affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike."
Church members who wish to give the United Methodist Committee on Relief efforts for 2008 global hurricane response may write checks to their local churches, with "Project #630" on the memo line. Or, visit the UMCOR site for online giving.