VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/13/23)—The World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA met Thursday, November 2 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in King of Prussia, Pa. At its meeting, committee members heard development grant proposals presented by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and American Baptist International Ministries. Grants were considered by committee members, who then made decisions on disbursements of One Great Hour of Sharing funding to be used toward the development grants.
“The generosity of American Baptists to the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering is what provides the funds for these life transforming grants,” said Lisa Rothenberger-Winter, World Relief Officer with International Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA. “Because of these grants, each year hundreds of children around the world will study in adequate school facilities, hundreds of young girls and boys will participate in youth development programs, clergy will receive training on how to support survivors of domestic abuse, a hospital in India will be able to improve its facility to better serve patients, and so much more.”
One Great Hour of Sharing, which is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA, provides funding for American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work, and development assistance. The committee does this by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing the distribution of the annual OGHS offering received by churches. OGHS funding is disbursed in a variety of ways, both throughout the year to aid in emergency relief and disaster rehabilitation, and also toward grant applications focused on supporting refugee work and development assistance.
Providing Support in the United States
Rothangi Chhangte, senior associate for Grants, Partnerships & Strategy Alignment with the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), introduced development projects presented to the committee from ABHMS. Following Chhangte’s presentation to the Committee, the grants below were approved to be funded by One Great Hour of Sharing dollars:
- Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice and Eloheh Farm and Seeds (Yamhill, Ore.), to drill a well for water, store water, and distribute water to continue to be a demonstrational farm for co-sustaining the earth and growing/sharing Open Pollinated, non-GMO, heirloom seeds with others
- First Baptist Comunidad Cristiana (Yakima, Wash.), to be used toward housing and meeting space for at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Yakima, one of the poorest and neediest cities in the State of Washington that struggles with poverty, high drug use and gang activity
- American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) to provide a training session focused on equipping clergy to address and prevent domestic violence and support domestic violence survivors and victims
- Milwaukee Christian Center’s “Building Opportunities for Young People” program, to support the expansion of the program over the next three years, allowing the Milwaukee Christian Center to engage more than 250 youth ages 11-17 in a hands-on, real-world, full-scale and 21st-century leadership experience
- The Kaleidoscope Project of Cameron Community Ministries (Rochester, N.Y.), to be used for promoting the wellness of children and youth ages 5-18 who are enrolled in Cameron’s youth programs by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral needs of the youth.
Additionally, funding was approved for emergency food and shelter needs, and ABHMS’ refugee and immigration program funding, to be disbursed as needed by ABHMS.
Providing Support Around the World
Jim Bell, associate executive director for Global Mission with American Baptist International Ministries, introduced development projects coming from partners of International Ministries. Following Bell’s project presentations to the Committee, grants supporting the following groups and projects were approved by the World Relief Committee:
- Baptist Union of Burundi (Union des Églises Baptistes du Burundi) project to support the Musema Secondary School’s building of one new dormitory providing housing for forty girls per year
- Tura Christian Hospital (Tura, India) to be used for constructing private patient rooms and an extension block with emergency exit ramp
- Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention (Karbi Anglong, Assam, India), providing a hostel for girls and boys at Union Christian English School
- HOPE Project (Vientiane, Laos), to register HOPE Project as a local foundation in Laos, allowing it to continue its 20-year ministry of rescuing and ministering to Lao children who are at high risk of abuse and exploitation—particularly street children, slum children, child laborers, abandoned children, orphans, and child victims of human trafficking
- Talita Cumi Girls Club program which engages young girls in a faith-based, community led positive youth development program in 6 countries in Latin America
- Lott Carey Baptist Mission School (Liberia) building project for the expansion of the computer and science lab classroom building
- Women’s Department of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa (BUSA) for a project “Standing Together Against Gender-Based Violence” aimed at developing literacy skills, vocational skills, and greater awareness of Gender-Based Violence
- Christian Center for the Development of People with Disabilities (Mae Hong Son, Thailand) to aid in purchasing a new vehicle for its organic farm ministry
- Kibati School building project (Kayanza, Burundi) of the African Mission Initiative/Association pour la Mission Intégrée (AMI), focused on renovating, equipping and developing the Kibati Fundamental School.
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.