Local church to offer assistance to Ocracoke

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A local church is stepping up to offer support to the residents of Ocracoke.

The First United Methodist Church in Washington has set up a “Blackout Relief Fund” and is now accepting monetary donations that will be sent to the Ocracoke United Methodist Church.

The fund follows an incident earlier this summer when a construction company accidentally caused widespread power outage on the island in the middle of high tourism season.

“I am hoping that this will help to provide much needed assistance to those good folks. Lord knows how much money was lost. This can at least make sure they are well-fed in their interim as they build,” said Ken Hall, senior pastor at FUMC of Washington.

Hall said the fund was created in response to a call from the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, as well as a suggestion from the Rev. Richard Bryant, pastor of Ocracoke United Methodist Church. Hall said Bryant had suggested that funds for grocery store gift cards would be appreciated.

Many residents of Ocracoke rely on tourism for revenue, as Ocracoke is a popular vacation spot for North Carolina beachgoers. The power outage brought summer tourism to a grinding halt, and the Blackout Relief Fund aims to help the many Ocracoke residents who experienced a big hit in revenue, according to Hall.

“This is just a means to help them sort of stay on their feet and take care of them because of the lull of revenue,” Hall said.

Hall said FUMC is involved with many different outreach projects, whether they are monetary projects or hands-on projects in the community. He said he wants to give all of his church members the opportunity to participate in helping those in need.

“I’ll tell you, I am in my 33rd year of ministry, and by far First Church is probably the most mission-minded congregation I’ve been a part of. This is just one finger of our outreach, if you will,” Hall said.

FUMC will continue to accept donations for about 2-3 weeks, according to Hall. He said the church will collect and total the monetary donations and send a final check to the Ocracoke UMC.

“This is just another avenue for people to practice outreach in the name of the Lord,” Hall said.

Monetary donations will be accepted at First United Methodist Church, located at 304 W. Second St. in Washington. Checks should be made payable to FUMC and specified for “Blackout Relief Fund.”