January 15, 2010--More than 60 people gathered at the General Board of Global Ministries as Bishop Martinez announced the news that three colleagues who had been missing in Haiti were being rescued after 55 hours in the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Haiti. Sam Dixon, head of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Clint Rabb, leader of the Mission Volunteer office, and James Gulley, an UMCOR consultant, were among a group of persons found on the evening of January 14.
The three were in the lobby of the Hotel Montana when the earthquake struck on January 12. They were protected by a large desk in the lobby when the hotel collapsed. Rescuers discovered them late last evening and began to clear the rubble that had trapped them. Gulley is at the US Embassy awaiting transit home. Dixon and Rabb were last reported to still be under the debris, receiving medication and fluids through an IV.
Bishop Martinez offered a prayer of thanksgiving: "We celebrate and thank God for the miraculous word in the middle of the night." He continued, "Even in our joy we pray for the people of Haiti as they face the hours and days ahead."
UMCOR Response to Earthquake
UMCOR is mobilizing staff to go to the Dominican Republic this weekend. Working with partners, Action by Churches Together, Church World Service, Global Medic, Muslim Aid, and the Methodist Church, UMCOR is channeling its resources to respond effectively to the people most in need. UMCOR is providing material resources and funding to Haiti, including a contingency grant to the Methodist Church of Haiti. Once non-governmental organizations are allowed and the situation is safe, UMCOR staff will move quickly to begin offering direct support in cooperation with the church.
Online giving to UMCOR's Haiti relief efforts is currently more than $1 million. Martinez is thankful for the overwhelming generosity and says, "This is heartening but needs to be multiplied many times over. We believe that contributions to UMCOR at worship on Sunday will be a powerful testament to the love of United Methodists for those in crisis."
Information and resources for churches are available on the UMCOR website: new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/work/emergencies/ongoing/haitiearthquake/
There will be a great need for volunteers to help rebuild once the initial crisis has settled. Says UMCOR executive Tom Hazelwood, "UMCOR is in this for the long haul. The needs of this disaster will not be addressed in the first 48 hours. When the time is appropriate, we will need the help and support of volunteers in Haiti for years to come."
In order to frame a response that is consistent with the churches' needs, people wishing to volunteer should contact their jurisdictional Volunteers in Mission coordinator to determine when and how to appropriately respond.
Gifts to support UMCOR's Haiti Relief efforts can be made to Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325. Checks can be made to UMCOR with "Advance #418325 Haiti Emergency" in the memo line. Checks can be put in the church's offering plate or mailed to: UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087.
One hundred percent of gifts made to this Advance project will go to help the people of Haiti.
UMCOR Sager Brown is coordinating a shipment of health kits to provide individuals with basic necessities. Instructions for assembling and shipping health kits are available at
new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/getconnected/supplies/health-kit/. Groups coordinating kits can send them to their nearest warehouse relating to UMCOR.
Please pray for all of the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Thank you for your faithful support for all of God's children.