Neighboring Conference hit by tornadoes

March 05, 2020

Kylan Hadley describes tornado damage to East End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn. Hadley is the church's youth director. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Earlier this week Nashville, Tennessee and the surrounding areas were hit with a powerful tornado that claimed at least 24 lives and damaged three United Methodist churches.  

United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) reports that the people of middle Tennessee appreciate the care and concern shown following the deadly and destructive tornadoes. At present UMCOR relays that the local communities are still under emergency. As such, neither the Conference nor the local communities are ready to receive volunteers at this point.

Closer to home Hopkinsville First UMC is planning to deploy their Early Response Team as early as next week if Nashville is ready to receive teams. Jim Morse, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, is keeping an eye on those plans as they develop.  Morse will also travel with the team if it can be arranged. He will also keep other trained Early Response Team personnel appraised if there are opportunities for them to travel with the Hopkinsville team.
"I’m sure that there will be several “rebuild” mission opportunities available later this spring and throughout the next year," Morse states.

As far as cleaning buckets for the affected area Morse says that in this situation cleaning buckets are not as helpful as they are in floods.  HOWEVER, the Mid-West UMCOR affiliated warehouse has what they call a tornado kit that may be something the Kentucky Conference can pursue as a means of helping. At this point, however, starting a tornado kit drive, collecting, and then delivering the kits  will not be timely.  Morse is considering whether or not tornado kits in addition to cleaning kits could become part of our ready inventory. For informational purposes only,
here is information on a tornado kit
At the moment, Morse says the two things that really should be our focus in helping the Tennessee Conference are: 
  1. Right now, prayer and donations to UMCOR are the best help we can provide until the Tennessee Conference has a better assessment of what the need will be and where their response will focus. If you would like to in suppor our neighbors in Tennessee. Please give to United States Disaster Response and Recovery through Advance #901670:
  2. Urging our churches and congregations to review or develop their emergency plans for severe weather as well as confirming that they have current insurance. 
"One of the most disturbing reports coming from Nashville is how many people ignored the forecast and warnings, Morse says, "urging our congregations to take tornado watches and warning seriously and keeping informed during potentially severe weather is critical." 

For more information on the response to the tornadoes here is a link to the Tennessee Conference tornado response page.