Hurricane season and Virginia Conference disaster response

By the Rev. Robert Pihlcrantz

Sept. 9, 2017 - September is the peak of Hurricane season and it is living up to the reputation. With three active Hurricanes; Irma in the Caribbean, Jose in the Atlantic, and  Katia in the Gulf things are looking very busy.  The best piece of information that I can offer at this time is to make a plan and prepare. The closer to the time of impact of a storm the more limited needed supplies become.. store shelves empty.  Don’t get caught without the basics, get ready today.  A good website for preparation checklists is

The National Weather Service (NWS) has a good website to help prepare for response. The hurricane site is  There are three NWS offices in Virginia; Roanoke, Wakefield and Sterling. Each has a local website accessed through the  portal. 

Hurricane Harvey relief phase is underway in Texas and Louisiana and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is providing much needed resources. Right now the Texas conferences are ONLY accepting volunteers who are trained and credentialed Early Response Teams (ERT). Material donations are not needed however please consider a financial gift to UMCOR. (Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068,New York, NY 10087-9068 Please note in the memo line: Advance 901670) . In support of UMCOR’s response efforts, the Virginia Conference is collecting cleaning buckets that will be shipped to the UMCOR Depot Sager-Brown on Sept. 21.  Click here for collection details.

The Virginia Conference is actively engaged in Disaster Recovery in two of its own districts -- Farmville and Elizabeth River. Tornados struck across Virginia and multiple tornados hit the communities of Waverly, Tappahannock and Evergreen in February 2016.  The conference has completed two of its recovery projects but the third in Evergreen is still ongoing. The fifth, sixth and seventh houses are still being built. Please consider volunteering to bring these families to their new homes soon. In the Hampton Roads area (Elizabeth River District) the conference is working hard on Hurricane Matthew Recovery and volunteers are needed there as well. This recovery project may take as long as two years to complete. There are over 500 possible clients that have unmet needs and the conference Recovery Team is working many hours to meet the needs of the families in the city of Virginia Beach.  To volunteer in either location please contact Forrest White, Virginia Conference UMVIM coordinator, at or by calling (804) 938-1026.  Please also consider a financial gift to Advance Special #5037 which is the Disaster Response fund within the Virginia Conference. Checks may be sent directly to the Conference Treasurer or through your local church.

For Early Response Team training and questions, please contact the Rev. Kirk Culpepper at  Questions about Disaster Response or Recovery within the Virginia Conference may be directed to the Rev. Robert M Pihlcrantz, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at  or by calling (757) 408-6653.



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center