Bishop Fairley issues a message of hope and a financial appeal

December 14, 2021
By Bishop Leonard Fairley

I write this message during Advent against the backdrop of deadly tornadoes that struck western Kentucky and nine states. I write in the midst of major destruction and loss of life in Mayfield, in the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Annual Conference; Bowling Green and Dawson Springs, in the Kentucky Annual Conference; and across double-digit counties in Kentucky.
My heart is well aware that destruction of this magnitude knows no boundaries, color, or denomination. As much devastation as we’ve experienced, a few stories stand out for me: the mother joining the search-and-rescue efforts looking for her kids, the sisters from our Dawson Springs church who died in their home (among the dozen people killed in that small town); the dozen people killed in Bowling Green; and other hard-hit areas that we are just learning about.
It takes an incarnational God who knows our pain, who hears our cries and walks with us through this grief, bringing some measure of peace in the midst of the storms that will continue even though the tornadoes are long gone. We give thanks for how God has shown up in first responders and ordinary folk practicing extraordinary resilience and spirits of generosity in helping each other, being the true hands and feet of Jesus. We’ve witnessed God with us in the amazing connectionalism of the UMC. UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, has already responded with deep generosity. Please be aware of the many ways available to help, coordinated by our Disaster Preparedness Chair, Jim Morse, who continues to offer amazing leadership, along with our other staff. We are indeed grateful for God’s presence being represented in the prayers and simple words of encouragement and comfort from around the world. 
Indeed, many individuals and churches have already reached out to ask, “How can we help? How can we be God’s hands and feet sharing love and support with our neighbors?” First, please pray. Second, please give. Your financial gifts and donations are the best way to respond right now. You have responded generously to Kentucky Conference Disaster Relief Ministry Fund appeals in the past. Your contributions today will inspire and strengthen our efforts in Kentucky as we move forward.
We are already partnering with local churches, UMCOR, and many other disaster response organizations. We are also coordinating immediate and long-term efforts with our fellow United Methodists in the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference. Again, your financial gifts today will enable both our immediate and sustaining responses to the tragedy around us.
You can give financially in two ways:

  • Checks can be mailed to: Kentucky Conference; Disaster Response Ministry Fund;
    Attn: Treasurer; 7400 Floydsburg Road; Crestwood, KY  40014.
    Please note Disaster Response: Advance 200902 on your check.
  • You can also give electronically via our secure online giving portal.

We will be dealing with the aftermath of these horrific storms long after the media and social media reports have ceased. We will be dealing with spiritual and psychological suffering that goes unseen. Where will the resilient peace come from? Luke 2:7 tells us: “And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”
We dare believe that the child in the manger, whose birth we shall soon celebrate, embodies that peace.