Earl to lead UMCOR’s disaster response and U.S. operations partner relations

By Elliott Wright
General Board of Global Ministries

Catherine G. Earl, an experienced professional in disaster readiness, response and recovery, is the new director of U.S. operations and partner relations of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

UMCOR in the U.S. has strong ties with United Methodist annual conferences, offering extensive training in readiness for, response to and recovery from natural and human-caused disasters.

“Cathy Earl brings a great deal of experience and keen insight concerning disaster relief to her new role at UMCOR,” said Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the General Board of Global Ministries. “She also brings valuable knowledge of the church, the operations of annual conferences, and the generous, helping spirit of United Methodists.”

“She is widely respected among the conference disaster response coordinators as a person willing to both provide quiet support behind the scenes as well as to be leading from in the field—in crisis situations,” said the Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR’s senior director for disaster response. “Cathy is an equipper of others. Her ministry is grounded in serving the most vulnerable in ways that maintain the dignity of those being served.”

Earl’s first work with UMCOR was 14 years ago as disaster case management supervisor, and later director, for the Greater New Jersey Conference-UMCOR response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

In 2005 she was deployed by UMCOR to train Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) personnel in case management following Hurricane Katrina. For over two years, she was lead technical supervisor for UMCOR’s Katrina Aid Today, a FEMA-funded program that that helped thousands of families displaced by the storm.

Earl joined the core staff of UMCOR in 2008, serving as executive secretary for U.S. disaster response. In her new role, she succeeds Gregory A. Forrester, who left the agency in November to become president and CEO of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), a national association of relief organizations.

Of her new position, Earl says that she “will gratefully continue to reach out to look for new ways for UMCOR to enhance our partnerships with the faith-based, nonprofit and governmental disaster response agencies linked with us in a compassionate response to disaster survivors. I eagerly anticipate that UMCOR’s connection within the United Methodist family will continue to provide a strong foundation for meaningful response to individuals and families. Together we can be there and be hope for our hurting neighbors.”