Global Ministries Strengthens Strategy in Haiti
by Melissa Hinnen
The mission agency of The United Methodist Church is strengthening its strategy in response to the extensive needs in Haiti. As part of this process, the Rev. James L. Gulley is broadening his consultative role in Haiti with the General Board of Global Ministries. For more than a year he has served as an agricultural consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the relief and development arm of Global Ministries. In his expanded role he will be a Global Ministries and UMCOR coordinator for Haiti.
Gulley will act as a strategic connection between Eglise Methodiste d'Haiti (EMH), UMCOR Haiti, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM), and UMCOR's international disaster response unit. He will also coordinate with Methodist-related partners, including the United Church of Canada, The Methodist Church of Great Britain, and other churches and partnership groups to streamline relief efforts.
According to Gulley, "In the months following the earthquake, a direction was set through a number of roundtable meetings with key partners. As we move into the next phase of disaster response, we will build on the needs and priorities outlined by EMH."
Gulley has built personal and professional relationships in Haiti and is committed to responding with compassionate companionship, as well as financial and material resources. In January 2010, he was visiting Haiti with a small delegation representing UMCOR and Mission Volunteers when the earthquake struck. Gulley was trapped with his colleagues underneath the rubble of a hotel for more than two days. He survived the ordeal and the following month returned to work, assisting vulnerable communities in the Haitian countryside.
Thomas Kemper, the agency's top executive said, "In addition to his professional expertise, Jim brings a shared experience and trust with the Haitian people to his work. I anticipate the coordinated approach in this next phase will allow us to progress faster, invest the generous donations of United Methodists in meaningful and sustainable ways, and build a lasting partnership with the EMH."
More than 15 months after the earthquake, the response in Haiti is beginning to move from relief work to long-term development. UMCOR Haiti is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build 3,000 transitional or upgradeable shelters in Leogane, Cabaret, and Port-au-Prince. At last week's board meeting, UMCOR directors approved more than $638,000 to help UMCOR partners IMA World Health and Global Health Action develop separate community-driven health programs, and also to support 12 college students with scholarships. The directors also approved the release of up to $1.2 million dollars for repairs to New College Bird, a highly regarded Methodist school that suffered damage to a number of its buildings.
According to Cynthia Harvey, UMCOR's top executive, "The United Methodist response in Haiti is comprehensive and involves diverse partnerships. Jim's relationships and vision will be an important bridge to ensure a cohesive, consistent, strategic plan as we work with the people of Haiti in the years to come."
Gulley's role is effective immediately. He will be based part time in the US and part time in Haiti. As a spokesperson on Haiti for Global Ministries, he will speak at a number of annual conferences this season and is available to speak with churches and other principal partners. He plans to also support EMH leaders as they develop effective, transparent operations to see where development and progress are being made and where adjustments are needed. In an interview in January 2011, Gulley said, "I simply thank God for the new life I received on January 14, 2010. I pray for wisdom, courage, and tenacity as together--Haitian, United States, Canadian, British, and Caribbean Methodists--we live out the Spirit of Jesus the Christ, daring to see ourselves as Kingdom people, instruments to change the world for and with the Haitian people."
Melissa Hinnen is the information officer of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.
Related: At the April 2011 Global Ministries board meeting, the nominations and legislation committee presented a new resolution to support Haiti Reconstruction and Development. The directors approved submitting the resolution at the General Conference in 2012.
Date posted: Apr 20, 2011