Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church
Monday, July 16, 2018

What is “disaster planning?”

Church disaster planning is an activity where you analyze the potential impact of something going wrong during a planned (e.g. worship service), notice (e.g. hurricane) or no-notice (e.g. earthquake) event at the church and examining methodologies to minimize its effects.  Being prepared and understanding what to do can reduce fear, anxiety and losses that may occur during emergencies. We can minimize the drain on local resources needed during incidents by preparing ourselves as a church and as individuals.  Not all disasters are catastrophes, or have a severe effect on activities, but all disasters have some effect on some people.

Why is planning for a disaster important?

All disasters are local.  Regardless of whether response by civil authorities involves local, regional, state or federal resources, the local church is a major thread in the overall fabric of a community’s disaster defenses.  An organized disaster response is an effective ministry through which we become instruments of God's healing and hope.  By becoming the hands and feet of Christ, we share in a commitment to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of people in a time of crisis.

What must be included in a local church disaster plan?

A local church disaster plan should address how the church will do the following when a disaster is imminent of has occurred:  minister to the needs of its members; ensure the availability and usefulness of the church properties; maintain the delivery of existing ministries; and provide outreach to the public.

Why was a disaster plan written for Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church?

In response to a Virginia United Methodist Church Conference initiative, the Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church disaster plan was developed to: (1) maximize the likelihood that the leadership and people at the church are familiar with anticipated problems; and (2) to ensure that written guidance is available to address the most likely disaster situations that may occur.

Where can I get a copy of the Sleepy Hollow United Church disaster plan?

A current copy of the Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church Disaster Plan is available as a downloadable portable document file (pdf) by clicking anywhere on this sentence.

Can I get some help with developing a disaster plan for my local church?

Yes!  The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) sponsors a program called “Connecting Neighbors” which helps local churches develop disaster plans by describing the general requirements AND by providing trained consultants who will work with your church to develop a disaster plan.  The Disaster Coordinator at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church has been trained by UMCOR to provide your church help developing a plan.  Click anywhere on this sentence to initiate an email to the Disaster Coordinator asking for help.

When should my church develop a disaster plan?

Right now!  A disaster may occur at any time.  Having a disaster plan, even an incomplete draft, will help your church respond and recover by providing writt

Is the Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church disaster response part of a bigger picture?

Yes.  The disaster plan was developed and is administered in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Mission and Global Ministries Office of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Click here to view specific details of the conference Disaster Response program.

Click here to obtain Disaster Preparedness resources.