United Methodist Committee on Relief

April 2014 | UMCOR Hotline

Relief items, including UMCOR’s in-kind support, are transported to Palestinian camps in Lebanon for distribution to refugees from Syria.
Enrollment in preschool is an important period in any child’s life, and it is important to provide each child with a safe and sanitary school environment that also enhances the learning experience. In Palestine, however, some schools operate in conditions that expose children to mold, unsafe water and other risks.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is supporting partner ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) in its work to rehabilitate and furnish two preschools in Lebanon. The schools will then offer positive learning environments for 660 Palestinian refugee children from Syria. The children currently reside in refugee camps in Lebanon.

Displaced Palestinians are among the most vulnerable populations in the Syria conflict. Many of these refugee children were exposed to violence while in Syria, which caused them psychosocial distress and high levels of anxiety, and negatively affected their growth and development. Sending children to preschool gives them a chance to laugh, play and socialize with other children their age, as they try to regain a sense of normalcy.

ANERA recently distributed a shipment of UMCOR relief kits to refugees in Lebanon who fled the violence in Syria. More than 50,000 Palestinians from Syria have taken refuge in Lebanon since the spring of 2011.

You can support this work, which offers early childhood education in a positive setting to children refugees of the Syria conflict, with your gifts to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450.

Give now

Please pray for those displaced by conflict in East Darfur.
Please remember in your prayers all those affected by the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry a dozen miles from shore in South Korea on April 16. Most of the ship’s passengers were high school students on a class field trip.

More than 100 of the 476 passengers were confirmed dead and nearly twice as many were still missing at this writing. Please pray for them and their families, and for the traumatized survivors.

Please pray, too, for the survivors of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that was centered on the northern shore of Lake Managua, Nicaragua, on April 10. The quake was followed by a dozen aftershocks, including one of magnitude 5.1. Two people died and dozens were injured.

UMCOR is responding through the Methodist Church of Nicaragua and partner ACT Alliance. Please pray for those affected by the earthquake and for recovery work in the days to come.

Isabella Simonyan is a program officer for UMCOR Armenia’s anti – human trafficking program.
Isabella Simonyan is a program officer in UMCOR’s Armenia field office. She works with survivors of human trafficking and their families, and coordinates the work of an UMCOR shelter for trafficked women. She works with medical establishments, police, state representatives and others to bring awareness to problem of human trafficking and care and security to those who have been trafficked.

“There are not enough words to describe the positive impact that UMCOR has afforded me in my work during the past 13 years,” says Simonyan. “I have had a wonderful opportunity to help people within the framework of UMCOR’s Social Transition program and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking program.”

And she underscores, “Knowing that I am able to change, even slightly, peoples’ lives for the better, and give them hope by addressing their problems, is the greatest moral satisfaction.”

Simonyan is a pediatrician with 20 years of practical work experience. She is a graduate of Yerevan State Medical University. She has two daughters and two grandchildren.

According to the World Health Organization, globally, one in four people suffer mental disorders, both in developed and in developing countries. Depression, alcohol use, schizophrenia, and bipolar conditions are among the leading disorders that people live with chronically.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. United Methodists are encouraged to observe it in line with this year’s theme, “Mind Your Health,” by sharing mental health information with your local church or community, and learning ways to promote wholeness and wellness.

Visit Mental Health America’s website for resources, including recovery and support services, mental health screenings, treatment, mental health information on a number of disorders, as well as practical ways to take positive actions in your daily life to promote wellbeing. You can also click here to learn the facts on mental illness presented by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Chicago.

In a video presented by the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, Accessibility Ministries Chair Terry McDorman, who has muscular dystrophy, shares the challenges a person with disabilities can encounter each day.

Activities such as opening a door, drinking from a water fountain, using the bathroom, or attending a church service can present real challenges for those impeded in the performance of everyday tasks. He shares ways churches can be more welcoming and accessible to people with disabilities.

Watch the video to learn more.

UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit You can donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church by sending a check to:

PO Box 9068
New York, NY 10087-9068
or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. You can also give online by clicking any of the "DONATE" links or make a $10 donation anytime by texting "UMCOR" to 80888. UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors.

And, please pray for those who are hungry, displaced, sick or in poverty because of these and other natural and human-made disasters, and for the workers who minister to them.

Photo Captions

Image 1. Relief items, including UMCOR’s in-kind support, are transported to Palestinian camps in Lebanon for distribution to refugees from Syria.

Image 2. Please pray for those affected by the recent South Korea and Nicaragua disasters.
Mike DuBose

Image 3. Isabella Simonyan is a program officer for UMCOR Armenia’s anti – human trafficking program.
UMCOR Armenia

Image 4. Accessibility Ministries Chair Terry McDorman shares ways churches can be made more accessible to people with disabilities.
Video still image from the Church Accessibility video, Northern Illinois Annual Conference


Be Sure To Receive The Weekly Hotline
Some Internet Service Providers like AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Juno use web filtering software that allows you to add web addresses to a "buddy," "trusted," "safe," or approved list. Please add to your list so that UMCOR messages don't end up in "junk mail" or the "trash."

Mission Statement
Compelled by Christ to be a voice of conscience on behalf of the people called Methodist, UMCOR works globally to alleviate human suffering and advance hope and healing.