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Adopt a Church & Houses of Hope post-Katrina initiatives begin online registration

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Southern Baptist churches and individuals may now register online at www.namb.net to assist Katrina victims through the Adopt a Church and Houses of Hope initiatives.

Announced by North American Mission Board President Robert E. (Bob) Reccord over the Labor Day weekend, the initiatives are designed to help damaged Southern Baptist churches recover and offer assistance to people displaced by the hurricane that devastated parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Adopt a Church asks churches to adopt congregations whose facilities were badly damaged or destroyed by Katrina. A commitment of 12 to 24 months is requested or however long it takes for the affected church to get back on its feet. Hundreds of Southern Baptist churches were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane, according to initial estimates.

The Adopt a Church initiative suggests that partnering churches assist affected churches by sending missions and construction teams to help in recovery and rebuilding, 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.

Although state convention officials are assessing the needs of churches in their states, one of the most immediate needs will be to assist pastors and other church staff to get back to their church field to minister to their church members and communities.

Houses of Hope requests churches or individuals to provide temporary housing for Katrina evacuees with an initial commitment of 30 days. The initiative suggests churches work together to rent an apartment or house for evacuees, use vacant missionary housing, campers, motor homes, travel trailers, gymnasiums or work with local hotels to provide housing.

While details of Houses of Hope are developing, generally churches or individuals volunteering to house evacuees will have input into the placement of individuals or families. It is recommended that groups of individuals team up to provide housing and, in some cases, churches band together to provide housing. Immediate needs of individuals include enrolling children in school, making doctor visits and providing for basic needs such as food.

All expenses incurred by guests will be paid by the volunteer individuals and churches, although partnership with local, state and national relief entities and businesses is allowed. Participants in Houses of Hope are encouraged to check with their insurance carrier about liability issues related to housing evacuees in private and church facilities.

Information needed to register for Houses of Hope includes contact information, church information, specific skills or resources, number of people who can be accommodated, languages spoken and availability of transportation. Information requested to register for Adopt a Church includes contact information, size of church and state convention.

After a church registers for Adopt a Church or Houses of Hope, information is forwarded to an affected state convention which will have the responsibility of matching partner churches, individuals and families.

    About the Author

  • Tim Yarbrough