ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–More than 1,200 Southern Baptist churches have committed to help SBC churches in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The Adopt A Church partnership was initiated by the North American Mission Board the week after the hurricane destroyed thousands of homes and business along the Gulf Coast including hundreds of SBC churches.
Adopting churches from across the United States and Canada are being assigned to affected state Baptist conventions which will then match them with damaged and destroyed churches in their respective states. Adopting churches are asked to make a commitment of 12 to 24 months or however long it takes for the affected church to get back on its feet.
“Louisiana has identified more than 150 destroyed or damaged churches, and so far, Mississippi has identified more than 100 severely damaged churches,” said Richard Harris, NAMB vice president of church planting.
“In addition to these … there are many others that have been impacted, some more severely than others.”
Assessment of damage is ongoing and is not expected to be completed for several weeks, Harris said. New assessments also are being made following Hurricane Rita.
“Devastated churches are continuing to conduct detailed assessments of their needs while state conventions begin matching them with adopting churches,” Harris said. “The churches are doing this assessment with the assistance of state and associational leadership, including disaster relief crews.”
The Adopt a Church initiative suggests partnering churches assist affected churches by sending missions and construction teams to help in recovery and building, provide care packages, take up a special offering, offer training teams to encourage and strengthen staff leadership skills and assist pastors by replacing ministry libraries lost or damaged.
Churches desiring to offer assistance through Adopt a Church may register online at www.NAMB.net or call 1-800-462-8657. More information is available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Already, 6,000 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from 38 state conventions have served in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Texas following Katrina and Rita. A record of more than 4.8 million meals have been prepared by Southern Baptist relief workers.
Southern Baptist volunteers prepare most of the meals distributed by the American Red Cross as well as provide cleanup and recovery, communications, childcare and other vital disaster services. Southern Baptists are the third-largest disaster relief operation in the country behind the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army, with more than 30,000 trained volunteers on call for local, state and national emergencies.
A webcast briefing about Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts is available at www.namb.net. Disaster relief information is posted regularly at www.NAMB.net/dr.
Contributions to offset direct costs of the disaster relief response may be sent to state conventions, associations or churches responding to the effort or to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund. Donations to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief may be made online, www.namb.net, or by calling 1-888-571-5895. Alternately, contributions can be mailed to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, North American Mission Board, Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543.