Since assuming the position of RI Conference Disaster Coordinator this past January, I am discovering and learning about the critical long term recovery work being done by UCC Disaster Ministries (DM) domestically and internationally. I met 11 UCC Conference Disaster Coordinators (CDCs) April 4-7 at the annual gathering held in Oakland, CA. I also participate in monthly conference calls or meetings conducted by UCC DM, RI Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (RI VOAD-includes representatives from government and non-profits such as FEMA, Red Cross, United Way, RI Community Food Bank, etc) and have been amazed by the resources readily available to prepare for disasters and learn of the need for individuals or work teams to serve those recovering from natural or human caused disasters.
Meeting new and seasoned CDCs in Oakland this month enabled me to learn about the past and current work done by the UCC Disaster Ministries office with state CDC within or outside their individual states. (ex: Katrina, Sonoma fires & flooding, hurricanes in PR, FL, TX, US Virgin Islands). As you can see from the photo, I meet Amanda Sheldon, Program Associate, National Disaster and Refugee Ministries and UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth who I look forward to working with!!
My charge as RI CDC is to educate and communicate to RI UCC churches about UCC Disaster Ministries, to include: the work being done, the opportunities to serve, the resources readily accessible to churches for preparing individual congregations to be safe and able to respond to disaster in effective ways, and to maintain partnerships with government and non-profit organizations in the state of RI on behalf of UCC.
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