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UMCSC pastors tapped to lead state recovery efforts

BF1_8865Two South Carolina United Methodist clergy have been tapped to lead state wide recovery efforts through SCVOAD (South Carolina Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters). Rev. Gregg Varner, SC United Methodist Disaster response coordinator has been selected as the chair of the recovery task force. Rev. George Olive has been asked to chair the Case Management Task Force. United Methodist Committee on relief is a national partner of VOAD and so the South Carolina United Methodist Conference is a state partner.


Rev. Gregg Varner

“The South Carolina United Methodist Conference will serve a vital role in the repair and rebuild part of the recovery effort in SC. In the not too distant future we will be inviting teams from perhaps around the country to come in and help repair damaged homes and church properties. The homes will likely be those of the ‘least of these’ who may not have the means to complete the needed repairs.

As Methodists, this is just what we do. The fact that I am on one of the state coordinating committees for planning such activities gives us the opportunity to stay on top of the ‘unmet needs’ and work very hard to see that none slip through the cracks.

There is much to be done and this is in fact a several year project; for the SCUMC to be represented on state-wide committees is a plus.” said Rev. Varner


Rev. George Olive

“In the midst of the worst disaster we have experienced in many years in South Carolina, the recovery effort in front of us is daunting” said Rev. Olive.

With an estimated 70,000+ families that will have registered with FEMA with varying degrees of damage, up to and including total destruction, the estimate is that there will be 5,000-7,000 families that will have inadequate resources to repair/rebuild their homes – and their lives. It is this group that will need the help of faith-based and non-profit volunteer groups to provide assistance, as well as outside funding. To steer those families through this difficult process requires the services of trained case managers, working with the families to address their unmet needs on a holistic approach.

“While this assignment is more than a little challenging, I am very appreciative of the confidence shown by the SCVOAD leadership. I am truly humbled to be seen as someone who might have the talent to lead this effort, but I know full well that I and the task force members will only be successful in helping our hurting neighbors if we allow God to lead our efforts. If we pray for and allow God to bless our work, then I know great things can happen. Already I have been blessed by the gifted, committed, and compassionate people who have agreed to serve with me. I am also extremely fortunate to have the support of UMCOR, with its depth of knowledge and experience in disaster case management.” said Rev. Olive. 

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