October 11, 2012—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) welcomed Melissa Crutchfield to the role of associate general secretary for international development, effective immediately. She was until now the organization’s top executive for international disaster response .
Thomas Kemper, the top executive of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries and the acting head of UMCOR, has worked closely with Crutchfield. He said he has appreciated her effectiveness in crisis situations, most notably in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.
“Melissa has led UMCOR’s response in Haiti, forging deeper partnerships with our sisters and brothers in the Methodist Church of Haiti and with international relief groups working there. She brings to her new position rich experience in both the Methodist tradition and in the very technical aspects of development,” he said.
The associate general secretary (AGS) for international development is a new position created in the framework of UMCOR’s recently completed strategic plan and organizational realignment. Crutchfield, in the post of AGS, will unite two formerly separate units: international development and global health.
“This new aligned approach to our mission to provide hope and healing will strengthen our engagement with local communities and partners while maintaining a focus on quality, accountability, and good stewardship,” she said.
“I feel we are well positioned to make an even greater impact in the lives of the people we seek to serve across the globe. This is a very exciting time for UMCOR,” Crutchfield noted.
The organization’s realignment will streamline its work and build on the historic strengths UMCOR has developed over the course of 72 years. In particular, the AGS position will ensure and bolster UMCOR’s holistic, community-based approach to development.
Crutchfield comes to the post with a dozen years’ experience managing and implementing international relief and development programs, including nearly five years at the helm of UMCOR’s international disaster response unit.
Besides Haiti, she has led UMCOR’s emergency response to recent historic disasters in Chile, Japan, and the Philippines, and overseen relief and development projects in another 50 countries. She also has led UMCOR disaster risk reduction efforts in half a dozen nations, from Cambodia to Chile, providing training to help communities impede the natural calamities to which they are particularly prone.
“I welcome the opportunity to build on my emergency-response role at UMCOR to extend it into the field of long-term, sustainable community development,” Crutchfield commented. “And I am eager to work in this new capacity alongside my dedicated UMCOR colleagues and our partners around the world.”
Thomas Kemper underscored, “I look forward to Melissa leading UMCOR in this strategic role. It is a great challenge, and she has the experience to bring together both the technical and the faith aspects of UMCOR’s work in development, health, and disaster response.”