Each day, the media share with us details of disasters and ongoing situations that have left people wounded and suffering. The massive hurting in God’s creation is a sobering reality, and a challenge to those who can help. In response to that challenge, American Baptists have shown themselves to be a caring people, eager to respond when and where there is want.American Baptists have acted decisively to meet the needs created by earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, as well as by calamities of human making. Their contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing, the denomination’s offering for emergency needs, provide timely help in the form of emergency funds, medical supplies, food and shelter to persons in need. The American Baptist World Relief Office and the Office of National Disaster Response offer direct help and also work with ecumenical partners to see that aid is given swiftly. Many American Baptists, both as individuals and as members of work teams, have volunteered their time and talents to on-site ministries of rebuilding in the wake of natural disasters.
Over the past 75 years, White Cross workers in local churches have provided supplies for medical ministries, Christian centers and schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and throughout the world. The value of these supplies currently is nearly $1 million.
It is within the local church that some of the most important American Baptist ministries of healing take place– ministries that address the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of the church family. American Baptist pastors receive special training to meet these needs at the colleges and seminaries related to the denomination. They are supported in this facet of ministry by resources and training opportunities developed by American Baptist regions and national organizations.
Much of the healing we seek to administer in Christ’s name is accomplished through hundreds of institutions worldwide. Overseas, nearly one million persons are treated annually in a network of hospitals and medical centers operated by national Baptist conventions in partnership with American Baptist International Ministries. In the U.S., the American Baptist Homes and Hospitals Association encompasses nearly 70 retirement centers, more than 20 hospitals and nursing homes, and more than 20 homes and special services for children. These institutions offer a wide variety range of services including medical support, meals-on-wheels, day care, clinics, and programs for social and spiritual support, among many others.
Programs of spiritual and psychological healing are another component of our commitment to healing. National Ministries helps provide pastoral care for hurting persons through American Baptist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Services, which includes about 600 American Baptist clergy serving as military chaplains, prison and hospital chaplains and pastoral counselors.