By Jessica Brodie
CHESTERFIELD—One year after Hurricane Florence, and on the heels of narrowly missing a hit this fall from Hurricane Dorian, United Methodists across South Carolina got a chance to help people impacted by the storm in a conference-wide Disaster Recovery Day of Service.
More than 100 people—117 adults and 16 youth—gathered at St. Paul United Methodist Church Sept. 21 and were deployed to 12 projects across the Pee Dee.
The Rev. Emily Kirby, the conference’s Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery volunteer coordinator, said the projects ranged from drywall repair, replacement and painting to outdoor siding and roof repair. Volunteers ranged in age from 16 to 97, she said.
“It’s hard to articulate how wonderful the turnout was on Saturday,” said Tim Whitten, conference disaster recovery director. “The day was spirit-filled, and the effort from the teams was inspiring. We had friends from all over the state participating—there were individuals from throughout the Chesterfield community who took part (Chesterfield Long Term Recovery and a couple of Baptist churches) and UMC teams representing nine of our districts. Since this was our first Recovery Day of Service, we didn’t know exactly what to hope for, but we couldn’t have had a better group of people serving the recovery victims on Saturday.”
The day began with a group worship service, including remarks from Rodney Bailey of Rep. Tom Rice’s office, Connectional Ministries Director the Rev. Kathy James and Hartsville District Superintendent Dr. Robin Dease. Bonnie Williams of St. Paul UMC led the music.
Now, disaster recovery leaders are hard at work planning for their next day of service, which Whitten said will take place over Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend (Jan. 18-20, 2020). Teams will be able to sign up for individual days or the whole weekend if they want. Work will be done in Marion and Marlboro counties.
Registration will begin in December, Whitten said, but people can contact disaster recovery now if they have questions or want to reserve housing for the weekend: https://www.umcsc.org/hurricane-florence/