November 20, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I greet you in and through the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
First and foremost, let me express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the significant response and the generous contributions you have made in response to the devastating effects of Super Storm “Sandy.” In fact a team from the New England Annual Conference is already in ministry in Crisfield, Maryland. Once again, the connection of our Church is a wonderful gift in the midst of tragedy and loss. Your contributions are truly appreciated.
On behalf of the Northeastern College of Bishops, I am writing to provide you with an update and to make an additional appeal for your consideration. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has done their initial assessment of the situation and has determined that the recovery from this disaster will take approximately 3-4 years to complete. This means that our response will be ongoing as we provide a helping hand to those in need.
At a recent meeting of the Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops, we determined that the focus of our efforts will be centered on the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. The devastation there is significant and, after nearly a month, is still being assessed. We know already that there are critical needs that must be addressed.
For that reason, we are initiating a special offering for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference from their sister Annual Conferences in the Northeastern Jurisdiction. This offering will be put together into one gift from the Annual Conferences of the Northeastern Jurisdiction and presented directly to the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. When a disaster of this magnitude strikes, UMCOR suggests that an Annual Conference set up their own special fund in addition to gifts provided to the ADVANCE. This offering will be sent from the NEJ Annual Conferences to that fund.
May I request you consider taking a special offering on either December 2 or 9, earmarked for “Greater New Jersey Hurricane Relief.” These offerings are to be sent directly to the New England Annual Conference Office.
Thank you once again for your spirit and your willingness to respond to our sisters and brothers in need. My prayer is that we will come together to provide a truly significant offering as a demonstration of our support.
I look forward to partnering with you in the months ahead to provide a significant and compassionate response.
With Great Appreciation for Your Ministry and In Christ’s Love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
He added, in another email, the following:
Some may question why, if we just collected offerings for the victims of Sandy, we are sending a second offering, specifically for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. Personally, as your Episcopal leader, it is a sensitive issue for me since I just came to serve among you and with you, the Saints of the New England Annual Conference, after serving among and with the Saints of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference for eight years. While it is true that we are giving through UMCOR, we also need to realize that there are restrictions on the use of UMCOR funds. Only limited UMCOR funds can be used for repairs of the church buildings, parsonages and replacement of clergy personal belongings and many of the churches do not have flood insurance coverage.