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Bishop Holston’s statement on Hurricane Florence

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, issued this statement as Hurricane Florence was bearing down on South Carolina:

Sept. 14, 2018

Bishop Holston

Dear South Carolina United Methodists,

We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods. (Psalm 91:1 TLB)

Once again we find ourselves facing the potential of large-scale impact from a weather event. Hurricane Florence has the potential to endanger lives and create significant property damage – both through high winds and flooding. Nearly a half-million of our fellow South Carolinians have evacuated their homes in coastal communities, and the lives of thousands more have been disrupted by school and office closings and preparations for the storm.

During this anxious time, we are praying for the safety of everyone in the storm’s path, and we encourage everyone to continue to take appropriate precautions and heed the advice of state and local emergency management officials to keep yourself and your family safe. I am thankful for pastors and church leaders who are making the difficult decision regarding whether to hold Sunday services, and I trust you all to make the best decision you can to balance the safety of worshipers with the desire to gather in prayer.

I am thankful today for the connectional nature of our church. While the storm was still at sea, your annual conference Disaster Response Team, in partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, began making plans to respond after the storm to bring tangible support and a spirit of hope to the communities affected by the storm.

If you are unable to gather with your church family on Sunday, I urge you to gather with your family – in a shelter, a hotel or wherever you may be – to pray for the people impacted by this storm, for the first responders and early responders who work tirelessly to see to the needs of others, and for the many community and church agencies who will be working with people in the months ahead.

For those of you who feel called to act in keeping with your prayers and your faith, here are some things you also can do:

Finally, as people of faith, we trust that God’s love will triumph in the midst of anxiety, fear, loss and destruction. We trust that God will lead us to respond faithfully to the needs of our communities in the aftermath of the storm. We give thanks for our shared ministry.

Please know that I will continue my prayers for God’s protection for you and for our neighbors.

Grace and peace,

L. Jonathan Holston


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