Methodists channel sizable donations

Foreign and domestic funds for counseling and storm relief
United Methodist relief officials, chosen late last year by the U.S. to oversee a program to counsel hurricane victims that uses $66 million donated by foreign nations, recently announced that the denomination received more than $62 million from churchgoers during 2005 for storm relief and rehabilitation.

The $66 million grant by the Federal Emergency Management Agency did not raise church-state issues, said Elliott Wright, a Methodist spokesman, because the FEMA funds were not from U.S. tax revenue but from foreign contributions.

About 90 percent of the $66 million is being channeled in a two-year program through nine organizations, including the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, that advise families and individuals about problems they face to recover from their losses.


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