Disciples News Service

We are connected

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you… (Philippians 1:3-4, NRSV)

Connectedness has been a theme for the last month or so – hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Marie as well as earthquakes in Mexico and flooding in Bangladesh and more human suffering. With the realization we are all connected as God’s children, here is a run-down of just a few of the many, many efforts your Church family in all its expressions – general, regional and congregational – have made and are still making. And we know there are more. Please feel free to add them to the comments.

Week of Compassion

Harvey

  • solidarity grants for congregations and households;
  • in planning stages with Disciples Volunteering for receiving volunteers for long-term repairs;
  • in process (with NBA and others) of organizing clergy mental health support opportunities;
  • coordinating with Church World Service, United Church of Christ, and other partners to meet immediate needs and prepare for long-term recovery;
  • through a cooperative initiative (Disaster Recovery Support Initiative) providing support for organization of long-term recovery groups

Irma

  • funds set aside for Cuba (and sent through CWS for roof repairs, hygiene supplies, food security, etc.);
  • partnering with Children’s Disaster Services;
  • solidarity grants for congregations and households;
  • in conversation with Volusia County Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disaster (a partner we supported for Hurricane Matthew response) to extend our support for repairs/rebuilds

Maria

  • see partnership with Global Ministries, Pension Fund;
  • in conversation w/ Miguel to provide solidarity grants to congregations, as they assess needs

Maria and Irma

  • Disaster Recovery Support Initiative providing support in the US Virgin Islands for organization of long-term recovery groups

Bangladesh/Nepal

  • response through ACT Alliance – emergency shelter; water, sanitation and hygiene supports; psychosocial supports; livelihood recovery supports

Global Ministries in partnership with Week of Compassion

Mexico earthquakes

  • support through the Theological Community of Mexico;
  • provision of food and basic supplies;
  • needs assessment;
  • removal of debris, rescue work, food, shelter and first aid assistance

Irma

  • beds, mosquito nets, sheets, clothing for children, transportation

Maria

  • water filters, first aid kits, batteries, and money for fuel

Division of Overseas Ministries

María

  • Direct funding from DOM to assist in the recovery efforts of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico

Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries

Harvey

  • Direct grant of $1,000 to pastor whose home was flooded

Harvey, Irma, Maria & Mexico

  • Every one of the five Hispanic convenciones is collecting financial and basic need items for all four disasters.

Maria

  • A direct grant of $10,000 to the Central Office of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico

Pension Fund

Harvey, Irma & Maria

  • Pension Fund waived the non-payment of dues clause for those pastors affected by the storm, until Feb. 28, 2018.

Harvey & Irma

  • PFCC partnered with Week of Compassion to distribute about $45,000 in Ministerial Relief and Assistance grants to pastors whose houses and/or church buildings were damaged by the storms.

Maria

  • providing an Emergency Aid block grant of $300,000 to the Central Office of the Disciples in Puerto Rico so that they can distribute a $2,000 grant to every pastor (active and retired) living on the island;
  • Pension Fund has partnered with a congregation in Florida to secure shipping containers filled with generators for immediate delivery to PR. The MRA committee authorized a $66,000 grant to buy 100 generators so that every DOC church on the island can restore electricity and serve as a place of refuge for the pastors, their families and those in the community who need shelter.

Regions & Congregations

Harvey

  • Southwest congregations like FCC Aransas Pass, while not sustaining major damage, are reaching out to support their communities and sister congregations;
  • FCC Katy made new connections as a relief station;
  • Kingwood Christian Church was housing 70 people;
  • North Texas Area Churches sent truckloads of supplies – over a dozen trips all together – to Houston Disciples churches. Collection points were Central Christian in Dallas, FCC Rowlett, and FCC Plano and contributors included Azel CC, East Dallas CC, FCC Granbury, FCC Arlington, FCC Fort Worth, FCC Midland, FCC Abilene, Northwest CC, Rush Creek CC, South Hills CC, United Memorial CC and Welcome Table CC;
  • North Texas Area contributed $20,000 directly to the Coastal Plains Area for equitable distribution to their churches that have damage;
  • FCC Beaumont distributed cleaning supplies – over 400 clean up buckets and 200 hygiene kits and various other supplies and food;
  • FCC Arlington collected items ecumenically from Arlington Ministerial Association Contributors – First Baptist Church, Cornerstone Baptist, Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church, and First United Methodist Church, Grand Prairie; and Grace Crossing (Church of Christ) also assisted in supply distribution
  • The Illinois and Wisconsin region are partnering with the Illinois North Conference of the UCC to lead a mission trip to a CWS site in Arkansas this November, bringing clean-up kits they’ve collected across the region

Harvey, Irma

  • Upper Midwest and Oklahoma regions’ congregations put together CWS clean up kits
  • Pacific Southwest region donated $50,000 to Week of Compassion
  • Disciples Camp and Conference centers from Florida, to North Carolina (including Christmount), to Texas, opened their facilities to those evacuating from the storms
  • Similarly, Disciples congregations in Georgia and Tennessee opened their doors with offers of air mattresses and showers

Maria

  • Florida congregations partnered with Pension Fund to get generators shipped at request of Central Office of PR Disciples;
  • Kayros Church in Arlington, TX, is organizing a prayer vigil/fundraiser for relief in Puerto Rico on the evening of Oct. 8.

Disciples Home Missions Disciples Volunteering

Harvey

  • assessed damage, coordinating clean-up work through local VOAD partners, looking into providing support for mid-term needs for servant labor, working on mission stations for long-term recovery

Irma

  • assessing needs and potential for long-term recovery support, educating around long-term recovery, looking toward mission station support

Maria

  • will be working on mission stations for long term recovery and the utilization of volunteers, possibly through a mission station, as appropriate

Disciples Church Extension Fund

Disaster Recovery Services

Harvey

  • Staff assisting churches with insurance and other claims/arrangements has visited more than 10 congregations

Loans

Maria

  • freezing loan payments for Disciples churches on the island who sustained major damage

Chalice Press

  • Offered free copies of Help and Hope in wake of Harvey

National Benevolent Association

Harvey

  • With Week of Compassion, offering a one-day spiritual care and wellness retreat for affected clergy on October 27 at Camp Allen, near Houston, TX
  • With Week of Compassion, offering a three-day retreat for affected clergy in January 2018 in Scottsdale, AZ, facilitated by the NBA Mental Health Initiative Team