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Volunteers in Mission Team Leader & Early Response Team Training Events (Simultaneous)

The Eastern PA Conference’s Disaster Response ministry team will sponsor two simultaneous training events for UM Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) on 10/20/2018 at Otterbein UMC.

One training will be for people wanting to be UMVIM Team Leaders. The other will be for people wanting to serve on Early Response Teams (ERT), whose mission is to provide skilled support to disaster survivors as soon as communities allow response teams into disaster-impacted areas.

Each training costs $45 per person, which also provides the book Mission Journey, the updated VIM Team Leader Resource Toolkit, and a light breakfast and lunch.
  • For UMVIM training information contact: Russell J. Atkinson at ratkinson@epaumc.org or 610-675-7187.
  • For ERT training contact Bob Simcox at drc@epaumc.org or 610-427-0470.
Early Response Teams are “background-checked, badged, trained and motivated to be a caring, listening Christian presence,” said Simcox. “You will learn how early responders prevent further damage by tarping roofs, stabilizing structure, and clearing out debris and water-soaked materials. ERTs know how to prepare a structure for VIM recovery teams to do their work and how to provide hope to desperate survivors that God’s people do care about their lives and their homes.”

"UMVIM Teams are needed right now and right here--in the Schuylkill Valley following the recent heavy rains ," said Atkinson. "Teams, with trained leaders, can volunteer to help for one day, a weekend, or a week. This will be an enormous assistance to our ERT groups who are involved already. Our Leader Training in October will prepare you to lead a group of volunteers spiritually, safely, and effectively.

"Outside the conference," he added, "great passion and interest have been expressed for the continuing struggles of the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Maria and Irma last year. The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico has developed a sound disaster response plan, which our conference has been asked to support.”

Following ERT efforts, more UMVIM teams from Eastern PA are needed to help repair homes, churches, community centers and heavily damaged Puerto Rico Methodist Church Camp Fred P. Corson. The recreational camp in a mountainous area was created in 1961 when Methodists there were part of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area.

Teams are also needed to respond to other disasters in the Northeast region—including Maryland and West Virginia—as well as Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey, and elsewhere.

Eastern PA churches reported sending 55 UMVIM teams and 733 persons to serve across the U.S. and around the world in 2016, but the real numbers are likely higher, reports Atkinson, who is also pastor of Drexel Hill UMC. “Often, we don’t get to hear the stories of many UMVIM teams” he said. “So please, we need more teams and individuals to share their mission plans, experiences and insights with us.”