The UMCOR Hotline
April 11, 2006
In Today's Hotline:
Palestinian Authority: Hospital in Danger of Closing Down
United States: UMCOR Grants Support Storm Recovery
United States, Central America: $52 Million to Hurricane Recovery
Niger: Children Bear the Brunt of Famine
United States: “Don’t Criminalize Immigration Ministries”
A hospital in East Jerusalem that is the only specialized care center for pediatric dialysis and radiation oncology for Palestinians is in danger of financial collapse. Operated by the Lutheran World Federation, Augusta Victoria Hospital also provides cancer care, kidney dialysis and other medical and health services—but is cut off from important funding sources due to the current political situation there. UMCOR has sent an emergency grant to the hospital through the ecumenical alliance, Action by Churches Together. Your generous gifts to UMCOR Advance #601740, Middle East Emergency, will help keep the hospital open and serving patients.
Severe storms in the Midwest and Southeastern portions of the US have damaged thousands of homes and killed up to 20 people. The Emergency Service Office of UMCOR has sent emergency grants to several annual conferences that are mounting recovery efforts in the wake of these deadly storms. Your support of UMCOR Advance #901670, Domestic Disaster Response, enables the agency to react quickly and compassionately with funds.
UMCOR is fielding a robust hurricane recovery program serving thousands of families in the Gulf Coast of the United States over the next three years. A total of $52.3 million is aiding Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama-West Florida, Florida and North Carolina in long-term family problem solving, direct assistance, and extended rehabilitation. Also funded was a grant to the Missouri Annual Conference for its ministries to evacuees-one of several “grass roots” grants anticipated as UMCOR works to strengthen local capacity of organizations specializing in serving niche populations. Additional grants are supporting other programs such as housing for volunteer teams and restoring national mission institution properties. Grants also went to efforts in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua to provide shelter and restore crops. Please continue to pray for sisters and brothers in the zones so devastated by hurricanes in 2005. UMCOR thanks all who contributed in record numbers to Advance #982523, Hurricanes 2005, enabling these long-term initiatives.
Children in Niger are bearing the brunt of famine. Chronic drought and locust infestations are plaguing many villages in the west African country. Through an appeal from Action by Churches Together, the international ecumenical alliance of humanitarian agencies, UMCOR is improving access to drinking water, supporting off-season gardening and livestock management and repairing grain banks to strengthen the ability for families to have fresh water and get enough to eat. UMCOR supported an emergency feeding program earlier this year. About 76,000 people are benefiting. Your continued support of UMCOR Advance #101250, All Africa Drought and Famine, assists children, women and men to avert the threat of famine.
Calling on Congress to refrain from enacting harsh and intolerant laws against undocumented workers, directors of the Board of Global Ministries, including UMCOR directors, adopted a statement on immigration at their semiannual meeting April 6. Directors asked Congress “to refrain from passing laws…that would divide families, make felons out of millions of workers now in the US who are without green cards or visas, encourage mistreatment of immigrants, or criminalize the efforts of the Christian church…to help people in need, regardless of their citizenship status.” The statement follows several on this subject by church officials over the years, notably the 1986 Council of Bishops’ statement which said, “God comes in the form of the sojourner,” and cited the precedent of ancestors in the faith who themselves were “strangers in a strange land.” UMCOR ministry Justice for Our Neighbors has operated free legal clinics across the US since 1999. One bill being considered by Congress before its spring recess would make it a felony to engage in ministry to asylum seekers and undocumented residents. Your support of UMCOR Advance #901285, Justice for Our Neighbors, will strengthen the church’s ability to minister to sojourners among us.