I want to begin this week’s note by thanking you for your generosity in donating flood buckets to assist with the clean-up from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I am grateful for the enthusiasm with which you responded as a church. As of this morning we have collected 60 buckets! If you are still interested in helping in some way, financial contributions can still be made to the United Methodist Committee on Relief and you can email Beth Evans to let her know if you are interested in learning more about the possibility of a mission trip to Texas in the coming months.
It has been a bit chaotic in the office for many of our staff this week as offices have shifted. When the nursery and youth rooms were moved several weeks ago it began a move that has now impacted the location of most all staff. I am grateful for the ways in which they have made these moves with good attitudes and rolled with the minor hiccups encountered along the way. We are blessed to be served by and I am grateful to serve with such a dedicated staff team.
This weekend in worship we continue the series begun last week, “Living and Leading in Anxious Times.” It is my hope for these messages that they will provide practical tools and encouragement for being a non-anxious presence and positively impacting the systems to which we’re connected. The conversation continues this week with a focus on “The Leader’s Functioning.”
I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday.
As I shared in Friday’s eNote, Bishop Saenz has challenged United Methodists in Kansas and Nebraska to collect 5,000 flood buckets (or cleaning kits) to assist with hurricane recovery efforts. Initially the plan was that these would be sent directly to Houston. However, I learned this morning that our efforts were being redirected to respond to Hurricane Irma.
Thank you to everyone who has brought flood buckets to the church so far! As of this afternoon there are 27 piled in the Celebration Room, a tangible sign of your generosity and care.
Again, my hope is that we will be able to collect 75 buckets as a congregation this week. The list of items included in those buckets can be found here.
There have been several common questions asked and things learned that I thought it would be helpful to address briefly:
- Non-cellulose sponges? Unless the packaging specifically says that it is a cellulose sponge (and it seems more expensive than expected) it is a non-cellulose sponge. Most on the shelves in hardware stores and dollar stores are non-cellulose.
- Sponges wrapped or not? The initial packing list from UMCOR says sponges and scouring pads should be removed from wrappers. Buried in the comments of the information the conference posted is a note that, indeed, they should remain wrapped or be placed in ziplock bags.
- 18 Cleaning Wipes? This items has seemed to vary the most for people. The Clingers purchased an 18-pack of micro-fiber towels when putting together our buckets, they were potentially overkill. Something like this seems a good choice.
- Please note, now that these are going to the UMCOR Depot in Sager Brown before being deployed to respond to Irma, there is a request for a $1.50 donation to cover the cost of processing the buckets.
- If your bucket is missing any items, indicating what is missing on a printed shipping list and attaching it to the bucket will be helpful.
In Friday’s eNote I named a Wednesday afternoon deadline for buckets, because of a change in delivery schedule, you can now bring buckets to the church through 5pm on Thursday.
In addition to packing buckets, there are several ways that you can provide support this week (and in the coming weeks) for those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma:
- Pray! Please pray for all impacted by these storms.
- Make a financial contribution to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
- Help transport buckets from the church to the conference office on Friday morning. We will need to get all of our flood buckets from Topeka First UMC to the Conference office so they can be loaded on a trailer. Please reply to this email and let me know if you’re willing and available to help on Friday morning.
- Help load buckets on the truck at the conference office (4201 SW 15th St.) on Friday afternoon. The plan at this point is for buckets to be loaded on the trailer between 3 and 4pm Friday.
- Consider participating in a mission trip to Houston in the months ahead. Interested? Email Beth Evans to receive additional information about mission trips in the future.
Finally, I want to close with a thank you! As I shared in worship yesterday, Mike and Vicki Schmidt are in Houston currently helping their son and his family clean their house following the damage done by Harvey. Vicki texted Saturday morning with the following message “It is truly hard to believe the devastation here. First of all, the relief buckets are unbelievably helpful! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Everything will have to be cleaned and disinfected. Please extend our gratitude to all for their prayers for the people here. They need them. Sending gratitude from Houston!”
Thank you Topeka First UMC for putting your faith into action and extending the love of Christ in tangible ways in response to this disaster. Have a wonderful week and I’ll see you soon!
I hope that you’re doing well as this short week comes to a close. As I write this, Hurricane Irma is growing in intensity off the Atlantic coast, while Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts in Houston are really just getting started. Please continue to pray for all of those who have been and will be impacted by these storms.
As I shared last week, monetary contributions given through the United Methodist Committee on Relief are a great way to support relief efforts. You can give to Hurricane Harvey relief here.
Additionally, Bishop Saenz, our Bishop in the Great Plains Annual Conference, has challenged United Methodists in Kansas and Nebraska to provide relief for Hurricane Harvey in a tangible way by putting together cleaning kits (or flood buckets). These are buckets packed with cleaning supplies that will be delivered to people working to recover from the flooding. His initial challenge is for us as a conference to collect 5,000 buckets. You can watch a brief video of Bishop Saenz and our conference Disaster Relief Coordinator discussing these needs here.
Last evening after soccer and ballet I took the kids to Home Depot so that we could purchase supplies for a couple of buckets. We were in and out in less than an hour and found everything needed for two buckets for about $165. I believe a person/family could shop more frugally if they didn’t have the distractions of soccer cleats, shin guards, tutus, and repeatedly doing the splits in the aisle…
The detailed list of what is needed in the buckets can be found here. Please note, it is my understanding that sponges are supposed to be left sealed in their original packaging or placed in a ziplock bag.
I challenge you to get out sometime between now and next Wednesday to put together a flood bucket (or several) with your family. As one of the larger churches in the conference, I would like for us to collect at least 75. These need to be returned to our church by no later than 3pm on Wednesday, September 13th so they can be taken to the conference office to be loaded and delivered to Texas.
As a reminder, I am holding several conversations next week as a follow-up to the sermon I preached on August 27th in which I talked about the institutional and missional church paradigms. My hope is that these sessions will each be one hour long and provide opportunities for helpful dialogue. They will be held:
Wednesday, 9/13 – 7 p.m.
Thursday, 9/14 – 10 a.m.
Sunday, 9/17 – 12:30 p.m
Finally, this weekend is our big back to school kick-off for the new school year. Youth and Children’s ministry will kick-off, adult Sunday School classes will all resume, and we will begin a new series we’re calling “Living and Leading in Anxious Times.” It is my hope that you have been prayerful in considering who you might invite to join us for worship this weekend and that you have found opportunities to share those invitations in these last days.
Have a great weekend! Please, if you’re able, consider putting together a flood bucket, and I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday!