UMCOR to Establish Three Additional Offices in 2008
Stamford, CT, March 14, 2008—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is expanding its physical presence in the US and around the world. At their semi-annual meeting, UMCOR directors approved proposals for three new offices that will increase UMCOR’s ability to better serve some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Two additional domestic disaster response offices were approved along with an Asian regional office to be based in the Philippines. These satellite offices will allow UMCOR to have a greater “ministry of presence” according the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s top executive. “This will give us the opportunity to serve more of the church than when we are located only in New York and Washington, DC,” comments Dixon.
Additional Offices to Increase Response and Security
The two additional US offices grew out of UMCOR’s experience responding to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “The strategic location of UMCOR offices in two disaster-prone areas will help UMCOR to mobilize and reach out to people in crisis even faster,” says Dixon. “They will also help UMCOR to maintain a stronger presence in the area throughout recovery.” Dixon also notes the logistical importance of having additional offices in the US as a security measure. “The multi-day blackout along the eastern seaboard in 2003 greatly affected our ability to respond and to serve,” Dixon recalls. “Having these additional offices will ensure that our work will be able to continue in case of an East Coast disaster.”
Expanding UMCOR and GBGM Presence in Asia
The new office in the Philippines was originally an agreement made by Randy Day, the General Board of Global Ministries’ former general secretary. Dixon and Bishop Felton E. May, Global Ministries’ interim general secretary, met with the Filipino bishops last November to affirm their commitment to establish the first of the Global Ministries’ regional offices in the Philippines. “In addition to providing a ministry of presence, the offices would put staff with specific skills in furthering the work of Global Ministries through the Global Health Initiative, the Initiative for Ministry with the Poor and Disaster Relief and Development,” explains Dixon.UMCOR Directors unanimously approved this extension of UMCOR’s work noting the opportunity for the organization to work more closely with existing partners and to establish new ones. “These offices,” notes Dixon, “will allow UMCOR to truly Be There and Be Hope for those who need it most.”