Tornado Update

We give thanks to God for the powerful connections of our United Methodist brothers and sisters! In the last few days numerous United Methodists have reached out to us and offered prayers and financial contributions to aid in the recovery of our people affected by the tornadoes.

Robert Craig, our Disaster Response Coordinator, and Angela Overstreet, Consultant and Trainer with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) met with other agencies in the area to begin coordinating response efforts. We are still in the rescue and assessment phase of this disaster.

UMCOR teaches us that Disaster Response is long term. Our team is working on infrastructure to build a team that can go the distance on what will be a long-term recovery effort. To be sure, UMCOR is us—so watch for developments as we grow our team.

Of our United Methodist Congregations, Dodson Chapel, Braden and East End all sustained damage.

Hermitage United Methodist Church, already partnering with Dodson Chapel, is working to assist Dodson Chapel in next steps. Pastors Chris Seifert and Tommy Shelton are working together to sort out how to move forward. A big loss to that community is the Dodson Chapel UMC day care ministry which allowed working mothers and fathers to have confidence their children were well cared for. The storm disrupted this valued ministry in the near term which, in turn, has further disrupted these families.

The Braden UMC congregation, though small in number, sustained damage to their sanctuary have set into motion a process for food to be served to volunteers who are working in the East Nashville cleanup.

Numerous congregations are stepping up to offer assistance to East End. In speaking with Pastor Judi Hoffman last night, she simply said, “I’m grateful for the response and attention we are getting but I am more worried about our North Nashville neighbors who are not receiving the attention we are.”

Tonight, at Providence United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, a prayer service will be held in partnership with Grace, Lebanon First and Cooks United Methodist Churches.

Cookeville First UMC is becoming the hub of response for the response efforts in that community.

Our trained Early Responders have responded quickly across the conference where so much destruction is left in the wake of the tornado Monday night. Leaders are stepping up offering help and hope. Numerous Conferences are inviting offerings to support our response efforts. We are so very thankful for all of this support.

Our Disaster Response Coordinator wants you to know when and how you can help. Please continue to check the Tornado response page on the Tennessee Conference website. It is updated frequently and will continue to be updated throughout our recovery over the months ahead.