An Update from the RICUCC Disaster Coordinator

An Update from the RICUCC Disaster Coordinator

Barbara Gregory (middle) with Amanda Sheldon, Program Associate for National Disaster and Refugee Ministries and Zach Wolgemuth, UCC Disaster Ministries Executive
Since assuming the position of RI Conference Disaster Coordinator this past January, I am discovering and learning about the critical long term recovery work being done by UCC Disaster Ministries (DM) domestically and internationally.  I met 11 UCC Conference Disaster Coordinators (CDCs) April 4-7 at the annual gathering held in Oakland, CA.  I also participate in monthly conference calls or meetings conducted by UCC DM, RI Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (RI VOAD-includes representatives from government and non-profits such as FEMA, Red Cross, United Way, RI Community Food Bank, etc) and have been amazed by the resources readily available to prepare for disasters and learn of the need for individuals or work teams to serve those recovering from natural or human caused disasters.  

Meeting new and seasoned CDCs in Oakland this month enabled me to learn about the past and current work done by the UCC Disaster Ministries office with state CDC within or outside their individual states.  (ex: Katrina, Sonoma fires & flooding, hurricanes in PR, FL, TX, US Virgin Islands). As you can see from the photo,  I meet Amanda Sheldon, Program Associate, National Disaster and Refugee Ministries and UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth who I look forward to working with!!

My charge as RI CDC is to educate and communicate to RI UCC churches about UCC Disaster Ministries, to include: the work being done, the opportunities to serve, the resources readily accessible to churches for preparing individual congregations to be safe and able to respond to disaster in effective ways, and to maintain partnerships with government and non-profit organizations in the state of RI on behalf of UCC.

What is UCC Disaster Ministries?

A program of the United Church of Christ that responds to natural and human caused disasters all over world and is well positioned to respond in most events. Through our volunteers, congregations, Conferences and partnerships UCC Disaster Ministries seeks to serve the most vulnerable populations that require spiritual, physical, financial and psychological support. In times of domestic disaster, UCC Disaster Ministries office provides a platform and facilitation for much of this work while collaborating with and through UCC Conferences and a network of Conference Disaster Coordinators.

Internationally, UCC Disaster Ministries maintains direct relationships and partnerships with organizations and faith communities able to appropriately and effectively respond to emergency and long-term needs.

Opportunity -
At the website above, you will find opportunities with details to serve those in need, such as:
U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Texas or Florida.  All sites are registering work teams now! "Serving at any one of our four work sites would mean the world to people struggling to recover months, even years after wind and water robbed them of safe homes," said UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth.
Resource -
Go to the site above for resources such as the Disaster Preparedness Guide for you and your congregation. It is the result of a collaborative effort by the Conference Disaster Coordinators across the nation.
You may use the Guide in its entirety or remove sections to match your needs.  Most can be customized to best meet your needs. Files can be printed in house or at an office supply store, punched and placed in a 3-ring binder.

I welcome your questions or comments about this article.

Barb Gregory, RI CDC Volunteer,


Barbara Gregory

Barbara Currier Gregory is the UCC Disaster Coordinator for the Rhode Island Conference and is a member of the Slatersville Congregational Church in Northern Rhode Island.  

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