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United Methodists Top $1 million in Online Giving for Tsunami Relief Effort


United Methodist Communications
Stephen Drachler, Executive Director of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 742-5411 office (615) 456-4710 cell

Jan. 5, 2005

Contact: Stephen Drachler
(615) 742-5411 office (615) 456-4710 cell

United Methodists Top $1 million in Online Giving for Tsunami Relief Effort

NASHVILLE - The United Methodist Church has surpassed $1 million in online gifts in response to the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami, Bishop Peter D. Weaver, president of the denomination's Council of Bishops announced.

This is an unprecedented response to the humanitarian challenge the world faces in the Indian Ocean region," Weaver said. "When there is a need, people of good will respond, and they respond generously."

Weaver said every dollar given to the church's relief agency, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), goes directly to aid for the affected region. For more than 60 years, UMCOR has worked in partnership with a number of agencies in nearly 100 countries during humanitarian crises. UMCOR is one of the agencies listed by the U.S. government following President George Bush's appeal for Americans to donate to private, non-governmental relief organizations.

A special online site,, was activated on Dec. 27 and immediately generated hundreds of positive responses. The response grew as the death toll rose towards 150,000 and the world learned millions were homeless around the Indian Ocean.

"While collecting a million dollars on our Web site is an important milestone, we must remember that vast areas have been devastated by flooding," Weaver said. "The need is great, both in the short term, and especially for long-term reconstruction and rebuilding."

Online giving is only a part of the response from The United Methodist Church, Weaver said. Congregations across the church - in the U.S., Africa, Europe, and Asia - are collecting funds and mobilizing to help in any way that they can.

Weaver, who is bishop of the Boston Area of the church, said the denomination's full-page advertisement in USA Today has also generated numerous responses for the relief drive. The advertisement, which appeared on Tuesday, Jan. 3 in the U.S. and on Wednesday, Jan. 4, in USA Today's international edition, said "hands folded in prayer are already at work."

"We are asking simply that people give to help those who have lost so much," Weaver said. "Persons can give to their charity of choice, or through their local church, synagogue, mosque or temple."


(For more information on United Methodist disaster relief, go the,and to The U.S government's Web site for non-governmental disaster relief is