Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, released this statement regarding the impending arrival of dangerous tropical weather:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior.” – 2 Samuel 22:3
Friends, when the fearsome forces of nature take over – reminding us of how vulnerable we truly are in this world – we take comfort in trusting, believing and knowing that our Protector God is with us.
Again this week, South Carolina and its neighbors face a storm that brings with it high winds and flooding with the potential to endanger lives and create consequential damage. Whether you live in one of our coastal communities or farther inland, there’s a good chance your life will be disrupted over the next few days by Hurricane Ian.
During this time of anxiety, we are praying for the safety of everyone in the storm’s path, and we encourage you to keep yourself and your family safe by following the advice of state and local emergency management officials. We are praying for the first responders and public safety workers who place themselves in harm’s way to ensure the safety of others. We are praying for those who could be driven from their homes, and for those who have no home to be driven from.
Days like today remind me of how thankful I am for the connectional nature of our church. While Hurricane Ian was still days away, your conference Disaster Response Team, with support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, began making plans to respond after the storm to bring on-the-ground support and a spirit of hope to the affected communities.
For those of you who feel called to act, we ask that you respond only to specifically identified needs without making unsolicited donations. Your financial contributions can have immediate impact when you donate directly to UMCOR’s United States Disaster Response or to the South Carolina Conference’s Disaster Response Ministry.
As people of faith we trust that God’s love and compassion 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
South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church