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Bishop Holston to flood survivors: ‘You are not alone’

Bishop Holston comforts Margo Strong, spouse of the Rev. Kim Strong, pastor of Trinity UMC in Conway.

Sept. 28, 2018

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston brought a message of hope Thursday to members of Trinity United Methodist Church and others in Conway ravaged by historic flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.

“It’s hard to fathom that a few days of water will equate to years of putting your lives back together,” he told about 50 United Methodists gathered at First United Methodist Church in Conway. “But you will not do it by yourself. You are not alone.

“We are praying with you and for you and walking alongside you, allowing God’s grace to lead and guide us.”

Bishop Holston reminded the crowd of the connectional nature of the United Methodist Church, assuring them that support already is on its way from local churches, districts and annual conferences around the world, as well as from the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Trinity UMC-Conway, surrounded by floodwaters on Sept. 27.

He promised that the South Carolina Annual Conference – through its Disaster Response Ministries and local churches – will come alongside those affected by the floodwaters, both churches and individuals.

“As devastating as this is, God has a plan for your church and your community,” Bishop Holston said. “It’s going to be something we’re all going to celebrate, but right now we just can’t see it because we can’t see beyond the waters.”

Bishop Holston compared the coming assistance to the miracle described in Matthew 14, in which Jesus fed 5,000 people using only five loaves of bread and two fish his disciples had collected from the crowd.

“The floodwaters will recede, and when they do, we’re going to have to bring all that we have,” he said. “The people called United Methodist all around this world will bring what they have to give to you. And God will lift it up, and God will bless it.

“Whether it’s sheetrock or cleaning buckets, two-by-fours or hammers, offerings from churches or individual donations – whatever it may be, it will be given to you to help you put your lives and your church back together.

“We are a people of hope. In the midst of despair and when everything seems to not be what we need for it to be, God always sends us something or someone that will make a difference.”

Bishop Holston also encouraged all South Carolina United Methodists to “do more together than we can ever do apart.”

“What we can do together will make a difference,” he said. “Your gifts to UMCOR, your gifts to the South Carolina Disaster Response Fund, your willingness to volunteer – all of that is going to be important in the days, months and even years ahead.

“So let’s band together. Let’s be who God has called us to be. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Here’s the opportunity. Now’s the time.”

Rev. Kim Strong

Trinity UMC’s pastor, the Rev. Kim Strong, said his congregation already is working to fulfill its most important purpose, even before at least four feet of floodwaters recede from the doorstep of the church’s sanctuary and other facilities.

“Our goal is to keep the programs of our church going just like they were until we get back in our buildings – whether that’s in two months or two years,” he said. “We have been meeting at First United Methodist Church and other places around town. We’re going to continue our ministries here at Trinity, we’re just going to have to do it in a different place and in a little different way.

Rev. Strong also expressed the appreciation of his congregation for the outpouring of support from “our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church,” around South Carolina and across the connection.

“We have been bombarded with phone calls wanting to know what you can do to help, what you can send us,” he said. “Right now, we can’t take anything because we don’t have any place to put anything, but when these waters come down, we’ll be looking for anybody who can hold a brush and a bar of soap and is willing to help us salvage what we can from our buildings and our materials.

“We feel your prayers, and that’s the most important thing. So say a prayer for Trinity Church tonight. We need them.”

How you can help
Donate: S.C. Disaster Response
Volunteer now: Long-term S.C. Disaster Recovery
Donate: UMCOR

Nearly the entire area of flooding lies within the Marion District – which stretches roughly along the North Carolina state line from Marlboro County to Horry County – with some areas of the Florence and Hartsville districts also hit hard.

At least nine United Methodist churches in the Marion District have reported flood damage to their sanctuaries or other facilities.

Volunteer Early Response Teams from across the conference have begun assisting homeowners whose houses were flooded in the storm’s wake. Their work ranges from putting tarps on damaged roofs and cutting up fallen trees, to removing furniture, appliances and other belongings made unusable by floodwaters. They also “muck out” homes as needed, removing paneling, sheetrock, flooring and trim to reduce the risk of mold.

















Permanent link to this article: http://www.umcsc.org/home/bishop-conway/

1 comment

  1. Joe Viola

    To Kim and Margo ,
    Our hearts and prayers go out to y’all and everyone whose life has been turned upside down due to the storm. I am sorry for getting to you so late but I had no idea y’all had this kind of damage till this past Sunday in church when Wayne posted a picture of your church on the screen or wall. He gave us this website to go too also and I see the devastation. This breaks my heart . I tried to call you after church Sunday on your cell but got someone else and they informed me this wasn’t your number any longer. If you get a chance call me on my cell please.
    Truly your friend in Christ ,
    Joe Viola

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