By Jessica Brodie
The South Carolina Conference has tapped a full-time staffer to be its new statewide disaster response coordinator.
Matt Brodie, longtime communications director for the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, is shifting his role and will now coordinate the conference’s production needs (video, photography and website), as well as serve as the overseer for the church’s response to natural and human-made disasters in South Carolina, from hurricanes to train wrecks. He will serve as the UMCSC representative to the South Carolina Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster group and work with the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
In addition to working with the 12 district disaster response leaders and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission and Early Response Team leaders, Brodie plans to focus on helping local churches develop their own individual disaster response plans so they can be ready now—before a disaster strikes.
“Each church has the opportunity to respond to disasters, whether great or small, in ways that are both unique and fruitful for that congregation,” Brodie said. “That can be as simple as a coordinated prayer effort or collecting relief supplies, or it can be as big as housing Early Response and UMVIM teams or providing volunteers.”
He said just like churches sit down together and draft their own safe sanctuary policies, he is encouraging churches to sit down and come up with their own disaster response plans.
“Disasters are not just huge devastating floods. They’re ice storms and tornados and also human-created disasters, like train wrecks or chemical spills and terrorist attacks, and how the church responds to each of those is different,” Brodie said. “Some churches might become shelters; some might be a place where they give out supplies or food, or open up their church to other congregations who have lost their church. Some fund teams and offer other financial support. They may have several plans depending on what happens, whether in their own community or outside their district.”
He and his team are beginning the process of developing resources and trainings, plus looking at the conference-wide disaster response policy to determine whether anything needs to be updated.
Churches who wish to talk to him further about crafting their disaster response plan should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 803-786-9486, ext. 265.