"God is with us," says West Virginia Area Bishop, William Boyd Grove. The episcopal leader wrote this letter of comfort yesterday:
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in a time of suffering and pain in West Virginia, to share the promise of our Lord's presence and grace.
Our people are suffering terribly from the storms that have ravaged our state, leaving many of our people without power, water, and gasoline. This has happened in the season of very high temperatures, putting people, particularly older people and young children, at risk.
I am personally saddened that Mary Lou and I are not present with you in West Virginia this week. But our spirits are with you. Our hearts are with you.
We are experiencing again, as we always do in times of widespread suffering, the strength of our United Methodist "blessed connexion." Local congregations are in ministry to neighbors, offering cool shelter and food and companionship. I am so proud of our pastors and our churches!
Our disaster response team, under the direction of Dan and Sue Lowther are effectively at work. The conference staff, led by Director of Connectional Ministries Bill Wilson and director of Leadership Formation and Ministry Support, JF Lacaria, are totally engaged. The communications team, led by Laura Allen, are keeping the lines of communication open in creative and effective ways. I am grateful for each one of them.
Our own Jeff Allen began his ministry as Executive Director of the West Virginia Council of Churches just yesterday, July 1. Today he is coordinating the ecumenical response to the disaster through the WVCC. Disaster response has always been one of the hallmarks the Council.
UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, stands ready to help us.
All of this is undergirded by our prayers. Let us all "pray without ceasing."
Let us pray for those without cool air, without water, without relief. Let us pray for all those named above who are bringing help and hope to suffering people. Let us pray for those who are repairing power lines, and bringing civic order out of chaos.
And let us give thanks to the God who knows our names and our needs; who has numbered the hairs on our heads; the God who is with us in the dark and in the light, in the scorching heat and in the cool of the evening.
Blessings in Christ~
+William Boyd Grove
Bishop United Methodist Church