American Baptists Urged to Hold Filipinos in prayer on ‘Asian American Baptist Sunday’

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American Baptists Urged to Hold Filipinos in prayer on ‘Asian American Baptist Sunday’

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/12/13)—The American Baptist calendar designates November 17 as “Asian American Baptist Sunday.” In light of Typhoon Haiyan—which hit the Philippines on Friday and took thousands of lives in Tacloban alone—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) encourages American Baptists to lift our American Baptist Filipino brothers and sisters in prayer.

American Baptist Filipino churches are within several American Baptist Churches (ABC) USA regions, including ABC of Los Angeles, Growing Healthy Churches, the Evergreen Association, Metro Chicago, Metro New York and New Jersey. Many congregants in these regions maintain ties with family, friends and churches in the Philippines.

“We trust in God’s providence and guidance in the days ahead, as we seek comfort and cooperative efforts to support our Filipino brothers and sisters,” says Rev. Florence Li, ABHMS national coordinator for Intercultural Ministries, Asian Churches strategist and Burma Refugees Task Force member, who provides leadership support and pastoral development to these churches and their leaders.

Rev. Dennis Casaje, regional minister of Asian Ministries for ABC of Los Angeles, and pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church, Los Angeles—a congregation of 150 Filipino members, many of whom were immigrants—says his church took immediate action last weekend to pray for and collect donations to help survivors.

Rev. Manuel de la Fuente, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Clifton, N.J.—a church comprised of mainly Filipino members that is gradually diversifying with the addition of members from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia—expresses concern for individuals who lost all to the storm. De la Fuente, who hosts Central Philippine University alumni association’s annual gathering for mission and welfare, plans to collaborate with churches on the East Coast to raise relief funds.

“As dozens of ABC leaders gather for the Mission Table in Green Lake [Wisc.] and are encouraged to be fully present to the work at hand, I am comforted knowing that our American Baptist witness and service continues through the many hands, feet and mouths that are activated across the nation, seeking out ways to respond in compassion to the peoples of and our partners in the Philippines,” says Rev. Marie Onwubuariri, president of the Asian Caucus/Alliance and director of Admissions at American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, Calif.

“Please continue to lift up prayers, to support through One Great Hour of Sharing [OGHS] and to seek guidance from our leaders and agencies who are in communication with those on the ground and can suggest the best ways to help materially. Especially be present with those in your churches and communities who have not yet heard from loved ones.”

Approximately 200 Asian American Baptist churches are comprised of members who are of Asian descent. Languages and ethnicities include Burmese, Chin, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Kachin, Karen, Korean, Thai, Taiwanese and Vietnamese.

Donations designated to “OGHS Philippines Relief” can be made by visiting and clicking “Give Online” at the top right of the page. In the “Comments” section, type “OGHS Philippines Relief.”

For more information about ABHMS’ Asian Ministries, please contact Li at or 1-800-222-3872, 2468.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—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 over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.