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Beginning April 25 and throughout the week to come, a series of storms and thunderstorms tore through several states in the Midwest and South, killing an estimated 30 people by April 29.
One of the hardest hit areas was Vilonia, Ark., where the Rev. Nathan Kilbourne is pastor of Vilonia United Methodist Church. Nathan is the son of the Rev. Dwight Kilbourne, senior pastor at Ooltewah United Methodist Church, and brother of the Rev. Josh Kilbourne, pastor of First Church Hill United Methodist Church.
“I am very thankful tonight that my brother and my sister-in law are okay,” Josh Kilbourne wrote on his Facebook page late on April 28. “But please pray for God's grace and healing for the Vilonia community and other communities affected by the terrible storms over the past couple of days. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.”
In Holston Conference, property damage was reported in Harrogate, Tenn., and Jellico, Tenn. The Rev. Adam McKee, Oak Ridge District superintendent, said that he had spoken to pastors in those areas, and damage did not appear to affect church properties or church members.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) remains in contact with affected United Methodist annual conferences to assess local needs and next steps, reported Greg Forrester, UMCOR’s assistant general secretary for U.S. Disaster Response.
Forrester asked for continued prayers for survivors and the efforts of first-responders, as well as for the safety of all those in the path of new storms anticipated across the U.S.
“You can help UMCOR respond to this powerful event by keeping all those affected in your prayers; by giving to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response; and by working with your church community to provide UMCOR relief supplies, especially health kits,” Forrester said.
One hundred percent of your gift to UMCOR supports relief in the affected communities today and recovery over the months and years to come. This advance enables UMCOR to respond to immediate needs such as food, water, emergency shelter, and relief supplies, and also supports survivors’ long-term recovery needs, including the rebuilding of homes and disaster case management.
To help UMCOR, donate money through your local church designating “U.S. Disaster Response #026” on the check or cash envelope. You may also give online at http://UMCOR.org.
"United Methodists respond to deadly tornadoes" (UMNS, 4/29/14)
"Preparedness, training: Key to tornado response" (UMCOR, 4/29/14)