Dear Bishops of our United Methodist Church,
I know you are aware that UMCOR and our Global Health unit have responded in various ways to the spread of COVID-19 since the virus and its global threat were first reported.
We have provided funding to partners in China, the Philippines, and our Central Conferences in Africa. Educational materials have been developed and translated into several languages. Online trainings on best practices to respond to the disease are being conducted for health care workers and others in Africa and the Philippines. This work has required the collaborative efforts of health boards, disaster management coordinators, medical professionals and church officials.
But we must do more. It is clear that the impact of the coronavirus will be felt for some time to come. Prevention efforts must continue. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed. Sanitation and hygiene resources need improvement in many places, as do health care systems. Food security is further in jeopardy. Ethnic and racial minorities are disproportionately affected in the U.S. by this disastrous disease, and other vulnerable populations are being impacted around the world.
We are sure you will welcome our decision to set up through the Advance the UMCOR COVID-19 Response fund (#3022612) to expand and intensify our efforts. Solicitation for contributions to this fund are already underway and gifts will be used in the same careful ways that mark all of UMCOR’s efforts to alleviate suffering. We are considering this a Rapid Response fund and grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to Methodist partners.
The Rapid Response Application will be available at HYPERLINK "https://gbgm-my.sharepoint.com/personal/mboice_umcmission_org/Documents/Development/Appeals/2020%20Appeals/Coronavirus/Bishops%20Letter-All.docx?web=1" https://www.umcmission.org next week. You will also find the fund’s description and related artwork there. Sheltering in love…Loving others with compassion and care is the name of the campaign and, already, we have received a significant gift for the UMCOR COVID-19 Response fund. UMCOM is helping to promote this appeal and we hope you will do the same through your own Annual Conferences.
Thank you for your support and prayers as we undertake this important campaign on behalf of the church at this critical time
In mission together,
Thomas J. Bickerton
Bishop, New York Episcopal Area
President, United Methodist Committee on Relief