After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Bishop Lindsey Davis had an idea of how to help the victims of the quake. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts in 2005, the North Georgia Annual Conference (where Bishop Davis was the Episcopal leader at the time) ran ads in their local paper encouraging the people of that area to donate to relief efforts through UMCOR. Bishop Davis decided the same thing would work here in response to the January Haiti earthquake. The Conference communications department designed ads and placed them in newspapers throughout the state. The artwork was also made available to all that wanted it.
Columbia District Superintendent Darren Brandon took advantage of that artwork; he distributed it to each of his cluster leaders to run in their local newspapers. All the counties in the Columbia District ran the ad in their local paper, all but one doing so for free.
The response to the relief efforts in Kentucky has been significant both monetarily and through the collection of health kits. We will never know exactly how much of the generosity in the Kentucky Conference was spurred by the ads but we know of two concrete examples.
In the Green County area, the ad appeared in two weekly newspapers, the Central Kentucky News-Journal and the Greensburg Record-Herald. After the ad ran, Rev. Dale Curry of Greensburg UMC received a call. The person did not identify himself but he asked if he could come by the church and make a donation. When he arrived at the church, he had the newspaper ad in one hand and his check book in the other. He told Rev. Curry he wanted to donate $500.00. Rev. Curry recognized the donor as a member of the local Baptist church. That wasn’t the end of the fruit bearing. Just this week the publisher of the Greensburg Record-Herald made a donation of $100.00.
Many times as we attempt ministry, we aren’t sure if our efforts are paying off but this is one time when we have tangible proof of how our “Connection” has made a difference.