“Just as you did it unto the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.“
— Matthew 25:40
Hurricanes, tsunamis and devastating fires may be short-lived, but their effects on human life and property last, most likely, many years. Out of love for Christ and all people, American Baptists minister to those who struggle to rebuild lives after a disaster.
Thanks to funds contributed to the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Offering, National Ministries’ office of Direct Human Services provides financial assistance in every region of the United States in the name of American Baptist Churches USA. This financial assistance meets immediate needs of disaster victims—for food, shelter, clothing and medical care.
Funds support ongoing, long-term recovery work as well. In cooperation with other people of faith, National Ministries’ office of Direct Human Services works closely with the Emergency Response Program of Church World Service to develop a comprehensive ministry of healing and recovery.
National Ministries’ Volunteers In Mission program assists in organizing one- to two-week disaster response work crews. When an ABC region affected by a disaster is prepared to receive volunteers, VIM serves as a clearinghouse for dispatching relief teams to the area. Also, VIM encourages groups to respond to long-term recovery and rebuilding needs when the immediate crisis is over.
American Baptist Men responds to local and federally declared disasters with short-term disaster relief teams. In cooperation with the American Red Cross, ABMen moblize members and trailers from across the United States for recovery work that includes cleanup, repair and rebuilding.
Not all disasters, however, are natural events. In dozens of countries around the world, people are pushed to the margins of life, driven out of their homes and communities by armed conflict, gross human rights violations and fear of persecution. Millions of refugees risk extreme heat in deserts, endure squalor in camps and brave voyages across turbulent seas for the chance to live in freedom.
The marginal people of Jesus’ day were His special concern. When we welcome the refugee, the stranger in our midst, we welcome the Christ. Since 1948, American Baptists have been resettling refugees in cooperation with the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program. This faithfulness has made National Ministries’ Refugee Resettlement Program a cornerstone of American Baptist mission at home in the United States. In the more than five decades since American Baptists began this week, churches have sponsored more than 93,000 refugees, providing them a safe haven and a new home.
Church World Service