VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/29/16)—A series of heavy rain storms crossing central and southern West Virginia Thursday and Friday (June 23-24) caused catastrophic flooding and damage. Cities were inundated with fast moving water that quickly cut off entire communities. Rapidly rising waters trapped hundreds in cars and homes with 25 confirmed deaths, according to news outlets, with many still missing. Severe storms also caused catastrophic damage in parts of Indiana in recent days. $10,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funding has been released by American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Disaster Relief Office to the West Virginia Baptist Convention to aid in the relief efforts including the recovery and rebuilding of communities. Additionally, OGHS funding totaling $2,500 has been released to the American Baptist Churches of Indiana/Kentucky. OGHS is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA.
It is still to be determined the number and extent of damage to West Virginia Baptist Convention churches, but several have confirmed major damage and the fear is that some may be completely destroyed, according to a news release from the West Virginia Baptist Convention. The West Virginia Baptist American Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Team has been deployed by VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) to Rainelle, W.Va., where they will be headquartered at the First Baptist Church.
Donations of food, water, cleaning supplies, diapers, paper goods and even pet food have been collected by many churches and taken to central distribution stations to help the people in need.
Cities that were under water included: Richwood, Clay, Clendenin, Rainelle, and White Sulfur Springs. Other areas that had major water damage are: Webster Springs, Cowen, Alderson, Charmco, Quinwood, Rupert, Frame, Elkview, Big Chimney and Duck. West Virginia’s Camp Cowen had significant damage from high water. The Camp is still operational and clean-up is underway.
Many churches in the region have begun to collect and transport to aid stations significant supplies to assist in the cleanup efforts, according to the region. Hundreds of volunteers have joined to help those in need.
In related news, according to Soozi Ford, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Indiana/Kentucky, severe storms also impacted the Brookston, Ind., region, resulting in a state of emergency declaration for Brookston. Ford reports that buildings were destroyed in the community, roads became impassable and utilities were disrupted. ABC congregation, Federated Church of Brookston, Indiana, is serving as a hub for relief activities, including American Red Cross efforts.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches. Learn more at http://www.abc-oghs.org/.
How to help:
- PRAY — for those impacted by the floods – especially those who are grieving the loss of a loved one
- GIVE — Congregations and individuals can give to the ongoing efforts through their church’s Monthly Report of Mission Support designating their gift to “One Great Hour of Sharing: West Virginia Floods” or “One Great Hour of Sharing: Indiana Floods.” To make an online contribution by credit card, go to: https://secure-q.net/donations/ABChurches/410, noting “OGHS – WV Floods” or “OGHS – IN Floods” in the comments section. Donations can also be mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. For more information, contact Kim Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies 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 leadership, discipleship and healing communities.
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.