Baptists in the United States are putting together a coordinated response to the disaster caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The North American Baptist Fellowship (NABF), through its Disaster Response Network (DRN), is pulling together information and resources to assist those most affected and created a special website to assist in the process. The DRN is a tool used by the NABF, one of six regional fellowships of the Baptist World Alliance® (BWA), to avoid duplication and to better coordinate disaster response.
“I wish to convey to all Americans who have been adversely affected by the super storm in the Northeastern United States the concern of Baptists worldwide,” said BWA General Secretary Neville Callam. “I am pleased to have heard from George Bullard, BWA regional secretary for North America that the Disaster Response Network of North American Baptist Fellowship is already in action to respond to this disaster. Together, we will seek to mobilize resources to respond to what is an urgent need.”
Bullard, who is also general secretary of the NABF, said he had made contact with “many leaders of various Baptist denominational organizations from Virginia to Maine, in Canada, and as far west as Ohio to express our prayerful support to them. I have also asked them to feel free to contact us if the resources available to them are insufficient and they need the assistance of our network.”
American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ), which is based in one of the hardest hit states, is in the process of assessing the level of damage and need. Lee Spitzer, executive minister and senior regional pastor of ABCNJ, said he “anticipates that dozens of ABCN J churches will need assistance as they recover from Hurricane Sandy.”
He indicated that “damage from both wind and water has been extensive across the state, and communities near the Jersey shore, where we have many churches,” many of which, he said, have older structures. There were difficulties, he said, “to reach pastors and other leaders who may not be near their means of communication because they are out and about in their neighborhoods.”
Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention had 40 people in the Mid-Atlantic region, 30 persons in training by the American Red Cross, and had volunteers in New York on standby. “We identified churches in Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Baltimore to be on standby should they be needed for service,” said David Goatley, executive secretary-treasurer of Lott Carey.
“A number of churches and congregants in our network are without power, but their damage seems moderate,” Goatley told the BWA. “We have about a dozen churches in NY/NJ that are being activated for collaboration with the American Red Cross to provide relief support to survivors.”
The passage of Hurricane Sandy has led to the postponement of the 136th Annual Meeting of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC). The DCBC has placed its volunteers on standby, including its chainsaw, debris removal, and flood response units to respond to areas and persons affected. “Feeding and recovery volunteers are on alert status,” said Ricky Creech, executive director/minister of DCBC.
The Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMB) indicated that there was little need for a response in the state of Virginia, which suffered relatively little damage though it was affected by the storm. VBMB had, however, opened a disaster response staging area at the Fairview Baptist Church in Fredericksburg. It has also provided volunteers to assist a feeding unit in New York City.
Donations for disaster relief may be made online at www.bwanet.org, or sent to:
Baptist World Aid
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046
The Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For income tax reporting purposes, donors will receive a receipt for their gift.
BWA Designated Gift Policy: If a disaster appeal or a project is overfunded, our policy is to apply the unused portion to a similar need.
Baptist World Alliance®
© October 31, 2012