Disaster Recovery

DM_PennSoutheastThe mission of the Disaster Recovery Mission Team is to prepare congregations to deal with disaster events by providing preparedness training and acting as a communication nexus for receiving and dispersing human services referrals, volunteer relief opportunities, recovery supplies availability, and timely information on disaster management.  The Disaster Recovery Mission Team represents PSEC in its work with other faith-based and community organizations to constantly discover and disseminate best practices of dealing with disaster.

All Disaster Recovery activities are coordinated with the UCC National Disaster Ministry which oversees related activities on the national level. To learn more about the National Disaster Ministries, click here.

UCC Disaster Ministries Flier: What We Do

UCC Disaster Ministries Flier: 2015 Responses

View the Directory for our Disaster Recovery Mission Team

Click on one of the following topics to learn more about Disaster Recovery in Pennsylvania Southeast Conference:


    Recent and tragic events have heightened our awareness that houses of worship are not immune from disasters and emergencies. Faith leaders representing many traditions are concerned for the safety of their congregants as they gather to observe their traditions. We are also concerned.

    In addition to partnering with your local first responders and emergency managers, please feel welcome to use the resources on our web page. The information, there, provides specific and actionable steps you can take today. These resources can help you prepare your house of worship for disasters and emergencies, and implement practices that will mitigate their damage. This includes an active shooter event. There is, of course, no way to guarantee complete safety. But there are ways to decrease risks and increase safety.

    This new web page complements ongoing efforts to encourage partnership between faith leaders and local first responders via the “Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship”. Available since 2013, this guide is designed to be scalable for use by small to large-sized houses of worship in order to help navigate the planning process for emergencies. The guide is also available at the same web page, fema.gov/protecting-houses-worship.

    I encourage you to take advantage of these resources. If you do not find what you are looking for, or if you have questions about the information contained within the various links, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at partnerships@fema.dhs.gov.

  • NEWS

    The Latest on the UCC Response to the Disasters in Ecuador and Houston, TX

    UCC Disaster Ministries has authorized a $15,000 grant to support the work of our ACT Alliance partners in Ecuador.  This is in addition to the $2,500 grant that we sent to FEDICE, a Global Ministries partner, for early response work.  Our partners are engaged in early recovery work such as food distribution, WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene), NFI (non-food items), shelter and community based psychosocial support. Giving to support our response to the Ecuador and/or Japan Earthquakes should be directed towards the International Emergency Relief Fund.

    You can also like OGHS on Facebook to keep up to date!

    There is flooding of historic proportions in the Houston, TX area.  There are several UCC congregations that have been impacted to varying degrees.  UCC Disaster Ministries is responding to request for assistance from the South Central Conference, UCC by sending PA Southeast Conference co-Conference Disaster Coordinator, Karl Jones, to the Conference to share information and to support for the SC Conference, Houston Association and UCC congregations impacted by the flooding in the Houston area.  He will be helping engage those impacted  and supporters through appropriate channels that utilizes funds in appropriate ways and avoids duplication of benefits.  He will also assist in making connections with partners and establishing Long-Term Recovery Groups.

    Those looking to support this work should be strongly encouraged to give to the Emergency USA fund.

    Get up-to-date news about disaster funded by One Great Hour of Sharing
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    Deadly Tropical Storm Winston Strikes Fuji
    Help support UCC Disaster Ministries’ response to this and other international disaster.

    I Wish I Could Stay Until We Finished the Whole House
    Learn more about volunteering for a UCC Disaster Recovery Work Team. Sign up now!

    Faster disaster recovery is goal of new UCC-led initiative
    Written by Carol Fouke-Mpoyo

    United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is developing an ecumenical pilot project to more quickly and effectively support the formation of long-term recovery groups in communities affected by disaster.  It is developing the new Disaster Recovery Support Initiative in partnership with the disaster programs of the Church of the Brethren and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “Our goal is to engage local community leaders much earlier in the long-term recovery process,” said UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth.  “This will help capitalize on the energy and resources that are brought into the community in the early stages of response, including volunteers and financial support.  As a result, it will provide some early success stories….”


    WEST VIRGINIA – Five simple, economical “driveway bridges” have been completed for homeowners and eight more are ready to start except for funding in an innovative long-term recovery project following last spring’s severe flooding in West Virginia. The United Church of Christ is among partners in the “Bridge Project” of the West Virginia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). The United Church of Christ also is supporting repair of flood-damaged homes. The Ohio Conference has provided funding to equip tool trailers. Volunteers are need for both the bridge project and home rebuilding. … click on the title for more information on how you can get involved.

    SOUTH CAROLINA – In early October, South Carolina was beset by severe storms and heavy flooding. The new Disaster Recovery Support Initiative (DRSI), developed collaboratively by the UCC, Church of the Brethren and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is helping get the local long-term recovery group up and running. UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth says, “We just need volunteers.” The DRSI is scheduling work teams now. … click on the title for more information on how you can get involved.

    UCC VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIESYour service as a Disaster Recovery Volunteer helps people rebuild their physical homes and is an act of presence that indicates the commitment to walk beside people as they seek to rebuild their lives.  Together, we can be the body of Christ in the world.  The wider UCC utilizes mission trip groups to help homeowners in the long-term recovery process. Opportunities to serve and registration will be posted on this page as they are available.

    OGHS Facebook page UCC Disaster Ministries posts to the OGHS Facebook page. Even if you “like” the page, you don’t automatically receive a notice of news feed when something is posted so be sure to go to the page frequently.


    Long Term Volunteers-11-22-15Ten people have just completed special training to prepare them to serve as disaster long-term recovery volunteers in United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries. Each of them has a unique story of prior engagement in disaster recovery.  Each story leads them to a common desire and commitment to step up their involvement.

    The recent four-day training, held at Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Miss., included Volunteer Management, Construction Management, Safety, Teamwork, Communication, Long-Term Recovery Group Development, and Disaster Response and Recovery Processes and Partners, including UCC Disaster Ministries’ mission and role. Read the full article written by Carol Fouke-Mpoyo….


    AMERICA’S PREPAREATHON! April will be an exciting month! It is America’s PrepareAthon! Go to the web page above for resources and the Spring 2016 Toolkit.

    AFTER A DISASTER This resource includes: Find Family After a Disaster, Find Shelter or Rental Housing after a Disaster, Gas Price Gouging, Help Victims of a Natural Disaster, Return Home After a Natural Disaster.

    Check out the infographics for Protection Against Flood, Pet Preparedness, Make your Business Resilient, and Is your Disaster Kit Stocked on the FEMA website.


    PILLOWCASE PROJECT – The Pillowcase Project is a preparedness education program for children in grades 3 – 5, which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills. Generally given as a 60 minute presentation by Red Cross volunteers, the program leads students through a “learn, practice, share” framework to engage them in disaster preparedness. Students receive a sturdy pillowcase upon completion of the program in which they are encouraged to build their personal emergency supplies kit. Presentations are customized to focus on a hazard that is important and relevant to the local community.

    PREPARE AND RESPOND – Tips for how individuals, groups and communities use Facebook before, during and after disasters.

    RESOURCE GUIDE: Emergency Preparedness and Response Resources for Child Care ProgramsDoes your church have a child care program?  This program includes information about resources in our state and/or community, publications with emergency preparedness information, and links to useful resources on the web. It also addresses how to develop emergency plans and steps to take before, during, and after a disaster or emergency.The Federal Office of Child Care also has a variety of materials related to Emergency Preparedness for providers.





    DISASTER ASSISTANCE. GOV – The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program’s (DAIP) mission is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services and a mechanism to access and apply for disaster assistance through collaborative, data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local and private sector partners.

    FEMA – US Department of Homeland Security – FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

    READY PREPAREDNESS RESOURCES – (Official website of the Department of Homeland Security) Stay safe and know what to do before, during, & after disasters.

    SAMSHA – SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. The National Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) 1-800-985-5990 provides free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7 to help support those experiencing distress as a result of natural or man-made disasters. People seeking emotional help in the aftermath of a disaster can now call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 and begin the process of recovery.  Disaster Distress Helpline Overview, Disaster Distress Brochure (English), Disaster Distress Brouchure (Spanish), Disaster Distress Helpline Wallet Card

    UCC DISASTER MINISTRIES – UCC Disaster Ministries is a program of the United Church of Christ that responds to natural and human caused disasters all over world and is well positioned to respond in most events.

    UCC VOLUNTEER MINISTRIES – UCC Volunteer Ministries is part of the national ministries of the United Church of Christ. Mission Trip Groups serving within the United States can connect with host sites here and access preparation and post-service commitment materials. UCC Young Adult Service Communities (YASC) and Summer Communities of Service provide intentional communities for service and leadership development. Partners in Service volunteers serve full-time for a period of 1-12 months in a mission setting within the United States.

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