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United Methodist Committee on Relief

Connecting Neighbors

Connecting Neighbors is a program of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) that equips congregations with the tools and information needed to guide the development of their disaster response ministries.

Congregations that invest time in Connecting Neighbors training are better prepared for what emergencies may come, able to draw on local resources more quickly in the wake of a disaster, and more confident that United Methodists will be a resource for community recovery.

While Connecting Neighbors materials are typically offered through an intensive training, with the COVID-19 pandemic effecting congregations across our region, we are providing some of the most relevant insights from the program on this page to help local churches to care for their members during this difficult time.


Ready Families and Congregants Guidelines

The Connecting Neighbors program was designed to prepare our churches to respond to disasters of all types including the current coronavirus. These guidelines are focused on the first part of the Connecting Neighbors program — ourselves, families and fellow congregants.

Learn More

To learn more about Connecting Neighbors, in the OR-ID Conference, contact Disaster Preparedness and Response Coordinator Larry Johnson, 503-899-5431 or Connecting Neighbors coordinator Sally Blanchard, 503-802-9206. In the PNW, contact Disaster Response Coordinators Dana and Kathy Bryson, 509-539-2978, or email Connecting Neighbors coordinator Terry Reddick.

Connecting Neighbors Resources & Articles

The following resources are being offered to assist faith communities in developing plans and procedures to adapt to this changing situation. If you have questions, please contact the disaster response or Connecting Neighbors coordinator in your conference.


Best Practices for Church Cleaning and Management
At some point, public COVID-19-related health restrictions will ease and church buildings will open in some fashion. Larry Johnson, Disaster Preparedness and Response Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, shares how his local church is assessing their need for cleaning along with helpful CDC Guidelines for disinfecting your facility.

Connecting Neighbors: Church Connected
"A church that is prepared can help mitigate the emotional and spiritual impact of a disaster and may be a place of hospitality and sanctuary in times of critical need." Kathy Bryson and Larry Johnson share a timely resource based on UMCOR's Connecting Neighbors training.

Connecting Neighbors
The Connecting Neighbors program from UMCOR is designed to provide holistic disaster preparation focusing on individuals, churches and the community. This short article by Kristen Caldwell provides contact information for program coordinators and an overview of the guidance the program provides.

Case Study: How one church is applying disaster response protocols to love each other better
Like many churches in the Seattle area, Fairwood Community UMC had to adjust worship plans last weekend. Jim Truitt and Associate Pastor Carrie Bland help us to understand some of the other critical preparations the church is engaging in to care for their members.