“Connecting Neighbors” is the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) program that gives congregations the tools and information needed to guide the development of their disaster response ministries. Congregations that invest time in “Connecting Neighbors” training are better prepared for what emergencies may come, able to draw on local resources more quickly in the wake of a disaster, and more confident that United Methodists will be a resource for community recovery. While Connecting Neighbors is a program from UMCOR, each United Methodist Conference is responsible for introducing and implementing the program for the congregations in the conference. See more.
Although the time spent in designing a church-wide emergency plan is time well spent, in times of emergency, sometimes people need to know what they can DO NOW to be helpful. In response to the Coronavirus news of March 10, 2020 the Oregon-Idaho Disaster Response Coordinator, Connecting Neighbors coordinator and Abundant Health Coordinator offer the suggestions below:
Connecting Neighbors https://greaternw.org/staying-church-connected-when-it-matters-most/
Safety and Wellness Checks - Identify members, constituents, and neighbors, in your congregation or community, who might be most at risk during an emergency. Then prepare an intentional method for checking in with them, when a disaster strikes. Develop or retool your congregational Care Team or Outreach Committee, for this task. Update and make church directories available. Consider the communication options that will be most effective, with the people you are serving: telephone trees, emails, media posts, or prayer chains. Make sure to identify point persons to initiate the communication and check-in process.
Suggestions for Volunteer Safety and Wellness Checks - Check on your vulnerable members and neighbors in person if safe, or by phone or email.
- Ask how the person is feeling. Inquire about their emotional state in a caring way.
- Ask if they have a support person or persons.
- Ask the person if they need anything they can’t get for themselves. Remember that each person is an individual and needs to be in control of their own response to the emergency. If appropriate ask if they need groceries, prescription medicine or other supplies. Don’t assume you know what they need.
- Ask if you can pray for/with them.
- Don’t make promises you are not sure you can keep.
- Keep confidentiality.
Check your emergency kit if you have one.
Start one if you don’t. Put a go-bag in your car with a 3-day supply. Consider keeping an emergency kit at your workplace.