A Gift from the People of Puerto Rico
March 4, 2010 -- A check received today in the amount of $20,000 brings to $40,000 the total contributed to date by the Methodist faithful of Puerto Rico to the Haiti Emergency fund of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
Bishop Rafael Moreno-Rivas and Milagros Martínez-Colón, president of the Organization of Methodist Women of the island, presented the gift at UMCOR's New York City headquarters, the third check from the small but vital Methodist Church of Puerto Rico since the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.
"Given the great need, it may not seem like much, but we ourselves are small in Puerto Rico and we want to give of ourselves to help the people of Haiti," said Bishop Moreno-Rivas. The offering, he added, "is a sign of solidarity and love for a people in need, for the Haitian people."
Ms. Martínez-Colón affirmed that "with this gift we are only following God's word in the gospel of Matthew: 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' We are only doing what God told us to do."
The offering will support UMCOR's immediate relief and long-term recovery work in Haiti, where a field office has already been opened to begin work on a disaster recovery plan that will continue for at least five years.
Bishop Moreno-Rivas referred to UMCOR as the "link we have in the Methodist Church to channel relief, assistance and support."
Founded on the island more than a century ago, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico has about 12,000 members and 170 clergy.
Bishop Joel Martinez, secretary general of the General Board of Global Ministries, gratefully accepted the church's offering. "The people of Puerto Rico always have been mission-minded in their giving and in their works," he said. "I rejoice in receiving this gift for the people of Haiti and for Bishop Moreno's leadership."
Bishop Moreno-Rivas said the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico is planning to send a health delegation of its own to their Caribbean neighbor in about two weeks, with the aim to help injured Haitians recover not only physically but spiritually as well.
"Haiti is our most immediate neighbor. It is as if we are related by blood," he said.
"Haiti had been forgotten by the whole world," Bishop Moreno-Rivas added. "This tragedy helps us all to understand that we have a responsibility toward our Haitian brothers and sisters, and we come to understand, too, what it is that God wants for us all: solidarity and justice."
Gifts to support UMCOR's work can be made online by visiting umcorhaiti.org. For gifts by mail, please make checks payable to UMCOR and mail to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Please indicate Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325 on the memo line of your check. One hundred percent of gifts made to this advance will help the people of Haiti.
Read a weekly report of UMCOR's relief efforts in Haiti.