VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/2/12)—Following three days of closure because of a power outage caused by Hurricane Sandy, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) re-opened its headquarters Thursday and began to dispense One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) domestic disaster-relief funds to hurricane-ravaged regions as well as to partnering organization Church World Service.
“Our hearts go out to all of the millions of people who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III. “We grieve with those who lost loved ones. We seek to stand with those who are attempting to put their lives back in order in the wake of such destruction. ABHMS is working with our partner regions and other American Baptist Churches USA [ABCUSA] entities to help in response efforts. American Baptists are a generous and compassionate people who will rise to this challenge and do our part to help to relieve some of this suffering.”
In New Jersey alone, more than 30 churches have suffered damage in addition to the regional camp and conference center. Likewise, in Connecticut, damage has been sustained by churches and the regional camp and conference center. The New York City area has also sustained damage; assessment reports are pending. Areas of West Virginia are bracing for flooding expected when the nearly 3 feet of snow begin to melt. Other initial reports indicate damage ranging from uprooted trees and downed power lines to flooding and damaged buildings. Regional leaders say that complete assessments are presently impossible because certain locales are inaccessible. ABHMS will remain in touch with regions and continue to address needs as they become known.
Because the effects of Hurricane Sandy are being felt in the United States from Puerto Rico to Michigan, ABHMS convened a conference call of leaders representing American Baptist Men-USA and the following affected ABCUSA regions: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, and West Virginia. ABHMS staff members had also reached out to leaders in Cleveland, Indiana and Kentucky, Indianapolis, Metro New York, Michigan, New York State, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Rochester-Genesee, and the South.
At this time, those wishing to travel to affected sites to volunteer in relief efforts are advised to remain at home, to pray and to donate money. Since Hurricane Sandy hit, ABHMS has released more than $60,000 to assist with emergency and disaster-related needs, but urgent support is still needed for the millions affected.
Hurricane Sandy has wrought destruction not only in the United States and Puerto Rico but also in areas of the Caribbean, including Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Cayman Islands.
To provide support for relief within the United States, please designate your support as “One Great Hour of Sharing — Hurricane Sandy.” To support efforts in the Caribbean, please designate “One Great Hour of Sharing — Caribbean Hurricane.” One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs.
Donations to OGHS can be made on ABHMS’ website at www.abhms.org > Hurricane Sandy Relief Give Now!” Checks can be given to your church or mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. For more information, phone 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OGHS is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual OGHS offering.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA)—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.