These past six weeks have been a shining example of how covenant relationships between congregations, associations, the conference, and the wider church can occur in positive ways. On Palm Sunday evening a tornado hit Shelby. Late night on Memorial Day tornadoes struck multiple areas of the greater Dayton community. First UCC Shelby, led by Pastor James Robinson, and Shiloh Church UCC, led by Pastor Jay McMillen, quickly responded to meet the immediate needs of their neighbors.
The Northwest Ohio and Southwest Ohio Northern Kentucky Associations quickly connected with their respective local churches to ensure that any needed assistance was provided.
Ohio Conference Disaster Ministries was in contact with our local congregations and the associations within 24 hours of the events to offer support. Deliveries of hygiene kits and clean-up buckets as well as cases of water were delivered to our churches, and our churches served as distribution locations for those impacted.
UCC Disaster Ministries, our wider church ministry partner, immediately reached out to our conference to discern the ways that they could be there for us. A solidarity grant has already been awarded for the Shelby response efforts and one for Dayton is underway.
Why are we in covenant with one another? Perhaps one significant reason is that at times it is difficult to go it alone. Having someone reach out and check on you, offer and provide assistance, and let you know that you matter is important. Over the past several weeks all of things have occurred. For all of you who have collected response items (kits, buckets) thank you… they are being put to good use. For those of you who have been offering prayers, please continue. For those wanting to learn more about how to become involved with disaster ministries, I welcome a conversation.
Rev. David Zerby
Conference Disaster Coordinator
for your Ohio Conference