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Mike Denton explores options for response to wildfire disaster

Recently Conference Minister Mike Denton called for prayer and established a PNC Disaster Relief fund.   

He has been part of conversations with ecumenical partners, national offices, PNC Disaster Response Ministries coordinator Ken Coleman and clergy to explore ways to help.

“The potential responses are as fluid as the situation itself,” Mike said.

Organizations that already support those who have been most directly affected by the fires say not to send any material donations like clothes or sheets. They have more than what they need.

There has been need for places to house farm animals.  

Air quality concerns were a factor for every church east of the Cascades.  

“In our conversations, we wondered if our churches might be places where appropriate air quality masks and a one-page information sheet about dealing with poor air quality could be shared,” Mike said, noting the need for medical professionals with expertise in respiratory issues might call to help think through the needs—206-725-8383 .

Another suggestion is to help the most vulnerable make their homes more resistant to smoke penetration.

“As far as long-term recovery efforts, some ecumenical partners with experience in local fire recovery have been contacted to see if we might be able to join them in their recovery work,” Mike added.

In terms of pastoral care, the threat of fire, the ever present reality of smoke and the possibility that the weather patterns may be “the new normal” are causing stress.

Mike said they discussed training clergy to be resources for their congregations and communities.  

In terms of advocacy, one important response to these fires is increasing advocacy related to climate change.   

“Our churches already have relationships with faith based organizations such as Earth Ministry and the Faith Action Network involved in this work.

“We are part of a denomination that has long been involved in environmental justice work.  There is a UCC Environmental Justice Training Oct. 7 to 9 at N-Sid-Sen.  

Individuals and congregations can send checks to the PNC at 325 N. 125th St. Seattle, WA 98118 with “Disaster Relief: Washington” in the memo line or can donate online at “DONATE NOW” at



Copyright © September/October 2015 - Pacific Northwest UCC Conference News


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