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2024: The Year of Resilience

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency for our nation, recently announced 2024 as the “Year of Resilience.” Someone from FEMA must have been reading my notes, because I, too, have wanted to shine light on how resilience is a key factor in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. 


First, let’s be clear. What is resilience? The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.” In short, resilience is our capacity to bend, but not break. 


Like many other qualities in life, resilience isn’t something some people are born with and others without. Resilience can be cultivated through time and intention, especially when supported by social connections and community.  


Some of you may remember the 12 Steps to Church Disaster Preparedness Plan that was created last year. If you or your church only completed a few steps of this plan last year, I encourage you to keep going this year, because this is a significant contribution you can make in protecting you and your community against unforeseen events. 


This year, I also want to offer these 12 Steps to Building Resilience in 2024 for you and your faith community to practice together. In SPDR, our ministry is more than simply protecting our buildings and the contents of our churches. Disasters impact our mental, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual wellbeing, too. 


I hope and pray these 12 Steps to Building Resilience in 2024 will connect, equip, and empower you and your community, so that eventually, when disasters do occur, you will have the capacity to bend, but not break. 


Consider who in your community you can invite to walk these steps with you: your Bible study group, prayer partner, church Session, mission or disaster committee. Share your experiences with your family, church leaders, and with us! 


If there are other ways you feel like the Synod Partnership for Disaster Recovery can support your disaster preparedness, response and recovery goals this year, please be in touch: kathy.leecornell@synodsun.org




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