March 21, 2017

Cal-Pac Hosts Successful Western Jurisdiction Disaster Response Academy 2017

Our Cal-Pac Disaster Response Task Force is celebrating the success of our recent Disaster Response Academy. Over 120 attendees from our 7 Western Jurisdiction Annual Conferences gathered at the Ontario Airport Doubletree Hotel for 4 days of classes, workshops, worship and fellowship.

The DR Task Force spent almost 2 years planning for the Academy, which was entitled Shakin and Bakin the Western Jurisdiction Way and was held March 10 – 13, 2017. Some 24 different classes and workshops were offered over a 4 day period. We received critical financial and instructional support from UMCOR and had guests Jack Amick, Senior Director of Disaster Response, Amy Fuselier, Director of Sager-Brown Depot, and Brian Diggs, Director of UMCOR West Depot, in attendance.

With UMCOR staff Cathy Earl, Barbara Tripp and Christy Smith as our leaders, we started on Friday afternoon with Foundations, a comprehensive review of UMCOR history, mission and works. Saturday morning was kicked off with Metropolitan Madness, presentations by officials representing agencies that would be involved in a major disaster in a metropolitan area. This esteemed panel, led by FEMA Region IX Director, Charles Craig, and Southern California VOAD President, Cheryl Nagy, not only imparted their collective perspective and agency engagement, but their presence gave us United Methodists an opportunity to let them know we are both available and supportive.

Over the ensuing days, classes ranged from Early Response Team training, to Connecting Neighbors, to Disaster Readiness, to first ever Recovery Skills workshops, to Case/Construction Management, to ERT Wildfire Response, to Ministry of Care, to UMVIM Team Leader Training and many more. We thank our own Conference volunteer class teachers Sue Harriss, Travis Lindsay, Sharon McCart, Heather Wilson, David Farley and Sean Simington.

With the leadership of Rev. Rick Malec, we celebrated in worship each evening with shared stories of mission from many varied teams and with song. We were moved by special messages from Rev. David Farley, about our “You Are Not Alone” ministry, from Rev. Lee Neish about surviving the Napa earthquake and from DS Jan Wiley, who shared a message comparing our ability to make special trailers and respond to disaster relief needs much as the Israelites were instructed by God to make and take the Ark of the Covenant wherever they journeyed.

As we spread out to journey home, we were each inspired and encouraged to share the word in our local congregations to support the Methodist Church’s worldwide relief efforts through our gifts on UMCOR Sunday, March 26th.