VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/20/20)—Since March, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has awarded $17,000 to volunteers in ministry efforts from Alaska to Puerto Rico and in between. These volunteers have made a long-term commitment to the care of children, providing outreach to homeless persons, making pastor-to-pastor visits to those serving in rural communities, visiting prison inmates and supporting individuals overcoming addiction. Some of the volunteers have made full-time commitments to their ministry.
“The grants awarded are not the equivalent of a salary,” says the Rev. Kadia Edwards, national coordinator for ABHMS’ Mobilizing Volunteers ministry. “The time the volunteers give far exceeds the amount of the grants. The grants are an expression of appreciation to compensate for some of the expenses the volunteers incur during their time of service.”
An example of an organization that uses volunteers is New Life Center for Recovery (NLCR), a ministry of Greater New Life Christian Center, Indian Orchard, Mass. NLCR provides housing and addiction recovery services. Three residential locations have the capacity to support individuals and families in spiritually grounded, nonjudgmental communities, where they receive comprehensive care.
“Presently, we have nine volunteers who serve as partners with residents in their recovery journey,” says the Rev. Brenda Lammie, executive director of NLCR. “We work to set goals and discern where God is leading them to bring all the pieces together for their healing.
“God can work and transform anyone,” she continues. “People come to us with guilt and shame and a sense that there is no hope for them. Our volunteers show them that God loves them, we love them and will work with them to improve their life.”
Volunteerism is as vital now as it has ever been. “What can I do?” is a question many people have been asking and answering since March, as a way of responding to COVID-19 and systemic injustices that are reshaping our world.
In 2019, close to 300 individuals served as long- or short-term volunteers with ABHMS. If you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities through ABHMS, please contact the Rev. Kadia Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.