GNJ Heeds Call to Puerto Rico Recovery Organizing

On Dec. 27, 2017, a team from GNJ embarked on a trip to Puerto Rico to assist with the organizing of recovery efforts after the recent hurricanes. Bishop Hector Ortiz invited Bishop John Schol and a small team to meet with his staff and leaders about the long-term recovery of the island based on A Future With Hope’s Sandy recovery ministry and talent.

The team consisted of Andrea Wren-Hardin and Beverly Schol who worked on the A Future With Hope staff and consulted with the West Virginia United Methodist Conference after their region’s flooding.

Also in attendance was Tom Lank, GNJ clergy person and Northeastern Jurisdiction Volunteer in Mission Coordinator. Lank spent time thinking with the Puerto Rican leaders about recruiting and deploying volunteers.

Norm Cetuk, a construction foreman who worked on Hurricane Katrina recovery and also the Mission and Resource Center in Neptune joined the team in looking at developing host sites for future volunteers.

Will Colon and Lysette Perez, two GNJ pastors who are from Puerto Rico also joined the team while already visiting the island to catch up with their families and work with pastors.

“GNJ is a generous conference offering others our people, funds and experience,” said Bishop Schol. “Bishop Ortiz reached out to me because everyone who he talked to said GNJ did a great job responding to Superstorm Sandy.”

Schol extended his thanks to the A Future With Hope staff.

“They have been the ones who have organized and led a tremendously successful relief and recovery effort,” he said. “The team has been a gift to many homeowners affected by Sandy and to GNJ.”

In 2017, GNJ raised more than $400,000 for hurricane relief. Scroll through the photos above to see more images from the December, 2017 scouting trip.