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sexta-feira, 15 de janeiro de 2010

United Methodists rescued from hotel rubble in Haiti

United Methodists rescued from hotel rubble in Haiti

A UMNS Report
By Linda Bloom*
UPDATED 2:30 AM EST | Jan. 15, 2010

Three United Methodist church staff were rescued late Thursday night from the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Rev. Sam Dixon, top executive of the United Methodist Committee on Relief; the Rev. Clinton Rabb, head of Mission Volunteers; and the Rev. James Gulley, an UMCOR consultant, are now safe, said the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, an UMCOR official.

“Sam and Clint are on their way to the hospital,” he told United Methodist News Service. “They both have leg injuries.” Gulley was uninjured, he added.

Three staff from IMA World Health who were meeting with the trio at the hotel -- Sarla Chand, a United Methodist who serves as vice president of international programs; Rick Santos, the agency’s president, and Ann Varghese, program officer for Haiti -- also were rescued and are fine.

A story posted by ABC News said Chand “thanked rescuers for saving her life” as she was carried out of the rubble. She is a former staff member of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, UMCOR’s parent agency.

The news of their rescue was first posted on a Hotel Montana Facebook page. Hazelwood said Gulley called his wife, Nancy, who then called Roland Fernandes, a Global Ministries executive.

Others had been rescued from the hotel earlier in the day. Later in the afternoon, CNN had reported that American, Chilean and French search-and-rescue crews were trying to reach a woman trapped in the bar area of the five-story hotel.

The hotel collapsed when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12.

Dixon and Gulley flew to Haiti on Jan. 11 to attend meetings, and Rabb had joined them there on the day of the earthquake. They had arrived at the hotel just about 5 minutes before the earthquake struck at 4:53 p.m.

Dixon has served at the Board of Global Ministries since 1998. As UMCOR’s chief executive, he oversees programs that range in scope from international development and peace building to long-term disaster recovery and special ministries to marginalized people. He also served 24 years in pastoral ministry and had special assignments in the denomination’s North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference.

Rabb, a clergy member of the Southwest Texas Conference, has served with the Mission Volunteer unit since July 2006 and has been on the agency staff since 1995. During a span of almost 20 years as a pastor and chaplain in Texas, Rabb was engaged in domestic and international Volunteers in Missions teams.

Gulley has extensive experience in sustainable agricultural work. As a missionary, he served from 1972 to 1979 in Nigeria and, starting in 2005, for 15 months in Cambodia, working on agriculture projects. He also worked for the U.S. Department for Agriculture for 10 years and led a sustainable agriculture project at the Board of Global Ministries.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or

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