July 10, 2012—The Texas Annual Conference and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church learned today that an accident has occurred involving a mission team from the Houston area. Both First United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas, and Lakewood United Methodist Church, Houston, sent church members on the mission trip to the Ukraine to repair a church facility.
This morning, the roof of that building collapsed, causing fatal injuries to David Nevotti of First UMC, Sugar Land. David’s wife, Cathy was also on the mission team, but it is our understanding that she was not injured. The church in Sugar Land has notified David’s three children. A member of the student ministry of the University of L’viv, Illya Onoprienko, was also fatally injured during the collapse.
Rev. David Goran, a United Methodist missionary serving in L’viv as a student ministry director, was seriously injured. Plans are underway to move him to a hospital in Kiev. Rev. Goran and his wife, Shannon Goran, are missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church and sponsored by several local churches within the Texas Annual Conference.
First United Methodist Church, Sugar Land and Lakewood United Methodist Church have been involved with the Ukraine mission for several years.
Several members of the mission team will be returning to Houston later today.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Annual Conference and Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, jointly release the following statement:
It is with deep sorrow that we share this tragedy. We, of course, mourn this loss of one member of our church family, but also the loss of the young man from Ukraine, who was our partner in mission. May God be with his family and the Nevotti family to surround them with love. We also pray for healing for our missionary, Rev. Goran, and for all those who are suffering as a result of this tragedy, including the communities at the University of L’viv and First UMC, Sugar Land, and Lakewood UMC.