New Connections for UMCOR and UMVIM
NEW YORK, March 7, 2007—A new road for working together was paved at the Feb. 8-10 conference between two ministry networks of The United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Committee on Relief domestic disaster response staff, annual conference disaster response coordinators and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission jurisdictional and annual conference coordinators met together for the first time at the Mt. Sequoyah Conference and Retreat Center outside of Fayetteville, Ark. "This was a landmark gathering," said the Rev. Clinton Rabb, UMVIM executive. "This UMVIM-UMCOR consultation has been a "lessons learned" conference as well as a renewal of our common commitment to serve people and communities in the midst of disasters."
UMVIM puts faith into action, challenging the church membership into service. UMCOR responds to disasters, helping annual conferences in their response which includes coordinating volunteers that come eager to help. During a disaster UMCOR and UMVIM would often run into each other. Over the last 10 years the number of volunteers has grown dramatically, especially in response to the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. The challenges UMCOR and UMVIM face have grown as well. The Rev. Tom Hazelwood, UMCOR executive for domestic disaster response, challenged the conference participants to ask themselves, "How can we do disaster response together in a better way?"
In answer to his question two documents were born: "The Protocol for UMCOR/UMVIM Collaboration in US Disaster Response" and "Covenant of UMCOR and UMVIM in US Disaster Response."
The protocol sets out how the groups will work together in the event of a disaster so that the incredible resource of volunteers is properly used to bring the best result for the survivors who most need assistance. The protocol will act as a compass for all involved in disaster response.
The covenant formalizes the bond the conference participants made. It will stand as a testimony and a reminder during the difficult times they will invariably face in upcoming disasters. This covenant to work together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will uphold its signatories to a higher standard in their continued work together.
More about this groundbreaking conference is available on the UMVIM website.