Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, the Prince of shalom, Healer of our brokenness, and Hope of the world!
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan that occurred a few days ago was of historic proportion and has resulted in the death of thousands of persons with thousands more missing. The numbers are sure to rise. Unknown as yet is the full impact that this calamity will have on the amount of radiation emitted into the atmosphere from nuclear power plants. Truly, our hearts are heavy with sorrow and grief. Accordingly, I call upon all New York Conference United Methodists to pray fervently for the people of Japan, for those most directly affected, and for those who are part of the efforts to bring relief to this suffering country.
I am heartened to know that our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been in touch from the earliest hours with our mission partner churches and church-related agencies in Japan. Most all of our work there is done in conjunction with ecumenical partners including the United Church of Christ in Japan, the Korean Christian Church in Japan and the National Christian Council in Japan. While the new Wesley Center in Tokyo, related to the United Methodist Women, was not damaged and is serving as a homeless shelter, the Asian Rural Institute, north of Tokyo, where we train persons from Asia and Africa in sustainable agriculture, sustained considerable damage. We can be sure that whatever we will eventually do will bear the love of Jesus Christ in tangible expressions and that we will be there as long as we are needed.
It is my fervent desire that our churches receive an offering for UMCOR and its work in Japan. One hundred per cent of all monies received will go to this effort.
Having just returned from a week in Haiti, I can testify once again first hand as to the healing and hope that our gifts make when channeled through UMCOR. UMCOR is, indeed, United Methodism at its very best.
I pray for all a continued blessed and holy season of Lent.
Jeremiah J. Park
By Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, New York Annual Conference. View original blog posting here.