Disaster Response

Scope of our Mission

Traditionally, the United Methodist disaster response has been called a ministry of pastoral care. Over time, the response has become much broader and now constitutes a multifaceted ministry of Christ’s Church in the areas of theological, material, mental health, advocacy and social services designed to provide for the spiritual, emotional and physical recovery of disaster survivors and for the well-being of their caregivers.


Overall Disaster Response Strategy

The Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference Disaster Response Team is an “umbrella” entity, meaning that it directs physical, monetary, and volunteer resources where needed within our area. It is not a “first responder” agency such as a fire department, EMS, or even the Red Cross. We work as part of the the Pennsylvania Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to organize resources within an area and coordinate response with state, federal, and non-profit agencies with common guidelines and principles.  We are positioned to step into a situation typically in day two or three of an event and to provide near-term and long-term assistance as appropriate.

Western Pennsylvania UMC's Disaster Response Coordinator is David Kissinger.  You can reach him by email at dlkissinger22@gmail.com or by phone at (814) 243-3254.  If there is a disaster (humanitarian or natural) in your area, please call to report it to David and your District Office.

WPAUMC's Disaster Response Plan, revised in early 2020, serves as a structure that clearly explains who does what; when and under what circumstances when a disaster strikes within the conference. The plan provides guidelines, suggestions, and specific assignments for various Conference personnel who will be involved in the response to a disaster.


Early Response Team Training 

This is an UMCOR certified training for Disaster Response ministries of Volunteers in Mission. Non-United Methodist participants are welcome but will not be badged or deployed through the UMCOR-UMVIM ministry network. Clearances are required from UMs on the day of the training.  

Early Response Team Training Recertification


Early Response Team Training Recertification
  • April 17, 2021 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM ERT