March 09, 2017
By Alan Wild
Nearly 100 people have signed up to take part in Bishop Leonard Fairley’s hurricane disaster relief mission to North Carolina at the end of March, according to the Rev. Randy Maynard of Christ United Methodist Church in Lexington.
“We have had a tremendous response to traveling to Lumberton, NC at the end of March,” Rev. Maynard, who is coordinating the trip, said in an email.
In a phone interview, Rev. Maynard said that 94 people had signed up as of Sunday, March 5.
“The folks who I am in communication with in Lumberton are beyond ecstatic with this overwhelming response,” Rev. Maynard said in the earlier email.
Some participants from the Lexington and Louisville areas will be traveling by van, leaving Saturday, March 25, and returning Friday, March 31, Rev. Maynard said. The idea is to limit the number of vehicles, he said.
Bishop Fairley, who came to Kentucky after serving for many years in North Carolina, felt led to organize and lead the mission trip in response to Hurricane Matthew, which last October devastated much of North Carolina, particularly the Lumberton area.
The hurricane caused devastating flooding across central and eastern North Carolina. More than a foot of rain fell 100 miles inland, causing streams and rivers to overflow their banks for days after the storm had passed, according to WRAL.com in Raleigh.
More than two dozen people in the state lost their lives, the TV station reported.
Those taking part in the trip are paying $350 each for the opportunity to serve. They will be staying at Chestnut Street United Methodist Church in Lumberton.
In his email, Rev. Maynard said that Mary Hartsell, the liaison for what is happening in Lumberton, “mentioned to me that jobs have still not been fully determined concerning what exactly we will be doing when we arrive.” In general, the plan is to assist in rebuilding damaged and destroyed residences, he said.
He also is asking participants to be prepared to lead short devotionals each morning and evening while in Lumberton. "Again, I'm grateful to God for each of you and your heart of devotion to assist others in their time of crisis,” Rev. Maynard wrote. “Please continue to be in prayer for those in Lumberton and please pray for our trip to come together in an organized way. “
In the phone interview, Rev. Maynard said that Bishop Fairley has also asked each church in the Kentucky Annual Conference to contribute $500 toward building supplies and construction costs for the stricken area. Most churches are receiving a special offering to be sent to the conference treasurer, he said.
Bishop Fairley had served in the North Carolina Annual Conference since 1984, and his last appointment in the state was serving as the district superintendent of the Capital District, the largest in the state conference.
Rev. Maynard, a native of Kenova, West Virginia, also is no stranger to North Carolina. He arrived in Lexington in 2014 after serving in the North Carolina Conference from 1988 to 2014.