Letter from the Bishop: Three Years after the Storm

 
 

I have not brought you to this place for a future of destruction but for a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
 
Jim and Mary were back in their home this week after three long years of waiting and wondering what would happen to them and their home. Mary said, after two years of one disappointment after another, my hope came when I met the United Methodist A Future With Hope. Volunteers came from New Jersey and around the nation to help me, and they didn’t even know me.
 
Dear Sisters and Brother in Christ,
 
Three years ago on October 29, 2012, the catastrophic storm Sandy swept through our region rendering 200,000 people looking for shelter after their homes were severely damaged or destroyed. Today, 10,000 people in NJ have not been able to recover, many of them have not moved back into their homes. It has been a challenging recovery but, United Methodists have been on the ground each step of the way. United Methodists were first responders in the immediate aftermath and we are one of the few remaining organizations still rebuilding homes and lives. We can do this because of a vast global network of United Methodist congregations and disciples who have generously given of their time, talents and treasures. Three years after the storm, through our nonprofit organization, A Future With Hope, we have:

  • Repaired and rebuilt 183 homes. Currently, we are working on 32 more homes.
  • Provided case management for 421 families.
  • Engaged 10,411 volunteers for a quarter of a million hours of volunteer service.
  • Raised $14,324,140 toward our $17,000,000 goal.

 We could not have done this without the grace of God, the prayers of the faithful, the donations of the generous, and the time of dedicated volunteers. You have been a future with hope. THANK YOU.
 
We are committed to at least two more years of recovery ministry. We invite you to spread the news that we still need prayers, volunteers and donations.
 
Below is a prayer to remember the anniversary and videos to share with others about God’s life changing work through United Methodists. I invite you to share this email and these resources with your congregation this week.
 
Keep the faith!
 
John Schol, Bishop
The United Methodist Church
Greater New Jersey Conference
 


A Prayer on the Third Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy

Creator God, it has been three years since Superstorm Sandy and we pause to remember. We remember the wind, the rain and the raging waves. We remember power outages, downed trees and flooded homes. We remember lives lost, psychics damaged and futures dimmed.
 
Redeemer God, we also remember the first responders, volunteer cooks and local leaders emerging out of the storm to be hope in a desperate time. We remember truckloads of food and supplies, generous donors and churches that served as a place of refuge. We remember and give thanks for your servants who swept back flood waters and rebuilt homes and lives.
 
It’s been three years God since Superstorm Sandy. For many it has been a quick three years but for those who are still out of their homes it is an eternity.
 
Sustainer God, keep hope alive, their hope and our hope. Give us confidence and resources to be a future with hope. Let us not shrink in the midst of despair but grow in faith and service.