ABHMS Encourages Church, Family Disaster Preparation

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ABHMS Encourages Church, Family Disaster Preparation

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/10/14)—September is “National Preparedness Month.” As our nation prepares to observe the 13th anniversary of the Sept.11 terrorist attacks, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) asks: “How prepared are you, your family and your congregation to respond when a disaster strikes—whether it’s a fire, mudslide, hurricane, blizzard or tornado?” Take time this month to establish family and church emergency preparedness plans, create emergency kits and practice emergency response.

A Church World Service (CWS) free one-hour webinar at 2 p.m. EDT on Sept. 23 will equip you with practical ways to help your congregation to prepare for and your community to recover from disaster. To register, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/563387946.

For ideas about how to prepare for disaster and ways to spread the word about the Sept. 30 “National PrepareAthon! Day,” visit www.ready.gov/september.

ABHMS will make available to churches and regions the tentatively-titled “Trauma-informed Congregations and Communities,” a resource to be produced as a result of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships gathering to be held in October. ABHMS will be represented at that gathering by Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, ABHMS managing director, Resource Development.

Via One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), ABHMS has responded to the following disasters in 2014, according to Victoria Goff, ABHMS national coordinator of Volunteer and Disaster Response Ministries: mudslide in Oslo, Wash.; flooding in Northeast Ohio; drought in Northern California; and earthquakes in Napa, Calif. In addition, ABHMS has continued to support the ongoing relief work of national partners CWS and American Baptist Men USA.

In June, more than 70 volunteers participated in a two-week effort sponsored by ABHMS and Great Rivers Region of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) to build three homes for families displaced following the Gifford, Ill., tornado. More than 140 volunteers have continued to support ongoing Hurricane Sandy relief efforts throughout New Jersey this year, with 128 of the volunteers participating in the second week of “Coming Together for New Jersey,” sponsored by ABHMS and ABC of New Jersey. American Baptists continue to be faithful in the Gulf Coast region, responding to the ongoing needs of those impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. More than 185 volunteers this year have served in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, with 122 participating in August’s annual “Home Mission: ’Til the Work is Done.”

For more information about ABHMS’ volunteer opportunities for 2015, how to donate to OGHS to support disaster relief or to apply for relief when disaster strikes, contact Goff at vgoff@abhms.org.

God’s Word tells us: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46 NRSV).

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.

ABHMS—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.

ABCUSA 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.