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Bishop Jonathon Holston

South Carolina is once again feeling the brunt of a powerful hurricane that has the potential to endanger lives and cause widespread property damage. With the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of our fellow South Carolinians from coastal communities, lives already have been disrupted.

We pray for the safety of everyone in the storm’s path, and we urge people to continue to take precautions and follow the safety directives of emergency management officials.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) stand ready to provide assistance as recovery efforts unfold. We are a connectional church, and we are not alone as we seek to respond faithfully to communities in crisis.

The Disaster Response Team of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church – under the leadership of disaster response coordinator Matt Brodie – stands ready to assess needs, coordinate with state and local authorities, and respond at the appropriate time.

Our specially trained Early Response Teams represent the first wave of our church’s response. In coordination with emergency management authorities, they are prepared to offer assistance wherever needed.

But we know we are not alone. We see tremendous evidence of God’s faithfulness in our midst.

Still, the news during these trying times can be overwhelming, leading many of us to feel there’s nothing we can do to help. I encourage you to consider these actions:

Pray – Pray for families who are impacted by this disaster through loss of property and livelihood. Pray for first responders and all those who put themselves in harm’s way to care for the vulnerable in our midst. Pray that communities will come together and forge stronger relationships and connections in the recovery process. Pray for God’s sustaining grace through it all.

Give – Give generously of your compassion and your financial resources. Respond specifically to identified needs, but please refrain from making unsolicited donations of things like clothing and food. You can donate to support our relief efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief at

Prepare – Consider being trained and volunteering for recovery efforts through United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. Much effort will be required in the coming days and weeks to bring new life into devastated areas. Consider offering your time and talents to that effort by going to

Please know that I will continue my prayers for your safety and for the safety of our neighbors. This can be an anxious and fearful time, even for those not directly in the storm’s path. As people of faith, though, we know that God’s love will triumph in the midst of loss and destruction.

Grace and peace,

L. Jonathan Holston

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