Transitional Interim Conference Minister The Rev. Don Remick released the following letter on Sept. 14, 2018. As more information becomes available in regard to the explosions and fires in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, it will be posted here.
I am sure you have seen the news from the gas related explosions and fires in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence this past Thursday. Your staff connected right away with clergy throughout the region to check in on how the clergy and their families and the churches and community were doing. All of our churches are undamaged as they endure the loss of gas and power. Our pastors are safe, their homes and families are unhurt. There are some members of our churches whose homes were impacted. And certainly their communities are overwhelmed with the damage and disruption of this disaster.
Our Disaster Resource and Response Team working with our partner agencies and “Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters” monitored and supported the emergency response and recovery efforts. When word went out of the need for sheltering we contacted several churches in the area, all of whom were more than willing to offer their buildings as shelter for people impacted. Chaplains have been sent to the scene and shelters through the various agencies.
This is still very much an unfolding situation. We continue to be in contact with churches and pastors to offer support to them and to help coordinate community support with them. As needs arise you will find updates and support requests at our MACUCC website at macucc.org/explosions and on our Facebook page.
As this disaster unfolded in Massachusetts, Hurricane Florence began its slow landfall crawl, damaging our mid Atlantic coast with storm surge, flash flooding rains and powerful winds. Our UCC is already active directly with churches and clergy and through all of our national partners in disaster relief providing support and preparing for the long road of recovery. Our UCC Disaster Ministries webpage will provide stories and updates as this disaster unfolds.
And while Florence comes ashore in the US, Super Typhoon Mangkhut has the Philippines in its sights. Typhoon Mangkhut is the most powerful storm so far this season exceeding Category 5 hurricane strength. And again, your denomination is at work through its ministries and partners in the area assisting in rescue, recovery and repair efforts. And that same UCC Disaster Ministries webpage will provide updates.
Knowing that the most important way we can respond to a disaster is through the gift of funds that allows maximum flexibility for local assistance, you or your church can offer support through:
- Our MACUCC Conference has set up a Gas Explosions/Fires Response & Recovery Fund. All of these funds will go directly to responding in Massachusetts to support our clergy and churches in their own recovery efforts and those in their communities. You can donate online here or send checks to MACUCC, 1 Badger Road, Framingham, MA 01702 with “Gas Fires Response” in the MEMO line.
- Our UCC also has a disaster response and recovery fund. And again, because of your support of UCM and OCWM, all of your fund donations go directly to disaster assistance to and through our churches, conferences and our partner agencies. You can learn more and donate here. You can specify any disaster if you want to specifically designate the gift.
- Pray. Our God is good all the time. Our prayers convey our concerns and love. Please keep all of our churches, clergy and communities in your prayers.
- UPDATE: The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has asked those wishing to donate personal care items or other items to work through the Lawrence Senior Center at 155 Haverhill St., Lawrence, MA.
Blessings in the storm