VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/12/23)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) grieves the loss of at least 80 lives and the displacement of thousands caused by devastating wildfires that engulfed the historic town of Lahaina and scorched thousands of surrounding acres on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
The Rev. Andy Quient, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, Southwest & Hawaii, describes the devastation as “astonishing” and especially “impactful, given the closeness of the Hawaiian people to each other and to the land,” which Quient knows first-hand from having lived there.
“Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono” [The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness], says Quient. “God bless our entire ABC family for your prayers.”
As local authorities predict a growing death toll, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) joins our prayers with others and issues an appeal for immediate support.
“The grief from the loss of loved ones and community and the harm to the earth will linger and require our care for many years,” says the Rev. Lisa Harris Lee, ABHMS director of Healing & Transforming Communities. “Rebuilding after this disaster, given its breadth, will take our constant prayers, boundless emotional support and reportedly billions of dollars.”
Harris Lee emphasizes that ABHMS is not a traditional emergency responder, noting that the organization’s objective is to receive and disburse funds as quickly as possible through One Great Hour of Sharing [OGHS] to meet emergent and longer-term needs. “This is one of the most immediate responses we can offer,” she says. “OGHS is a reliable vehicle for you to get every dollar of your donation to the communities in need.”
How you can help:
Please join American Baptists in supporting the relief efforts directed toward those affected by the catastrophic fires on Maui. One hundred percent of designate OGHS gifts are allocated to domestic disaster relief.
You can donate via your church or directly online to Hawaii Wildfire.
Checks designated to “Hawaii Wildfire” should be mailed directly to ABHMS’ Office of Development, care of Kim Wilkins, 1075 First Avenue, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406. They should also include the name of the donor’s church to ensure that it receives credit for the gift.
The World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA administers the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. 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 received by churches.
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.