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Fla. Baptist leaders promise help to those hurt by Charley

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–The Florida Baptist Convention cannot “fix” every problem, but it can and will help in the wake of Hurricane Charley, the state’s executive director-treasurer pledged Aug. 16.

“There are no people in the world who respond to needs like the folks in Southern Baptist churches,” John Sullivan said. “God bless our volunteers. There is not enough dollars to pay for the amount of work they do and witness for Christ that they give.”

Sullivan will accompany other Florida Baptist Convention personnel to the storm-hit areas to offer support.

“As with any disaster, my reaction is one of sorrow for the loss of life, property and future plans,” said Sullivan, citing the “emotional bombardment” that occurs on a daily basis during a crisis.

“There is also a sense of gratitude for the survivors and their families.”

Sullivan urged continued support of the Maguire State Mission Offering which is a major funding source for disaster relief.

“Give generously this year,” he said. “The needs are great.”

Tommy Green, president of the Florida Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., said he believes one of the more important things people can do to help is to pray for people as they consider how they themselves might help.

“Our hearts are heavy and saddened by people whose lives were lost,” Green said. “Our prayers are with those families.”

Green said he is thankful that with funds from the Maguire State Mission Offering, Florida Baptists are able to be “proactive, rather than reactive.”

“We don’t have to wait for a disaster to occur to rally, for we have preparation in place so that in the event of a catastrophe, we are ready,” Green said.

Bobby Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., said he will travel to the storm-hit areas to help, despite being without power in his own home and church on the east coast of Florida where Charley’s winds knocked down power lines.

“This is an opportunity to be Christ to the victims and for Florida Baptists to do what they do so well,” Welch said.

He noted that Sullivan is “already headed down in his blue jeans and with a chainsaw –- to help.”

Individuals and churches interested in lending a hand to the massive effort may call the Florida Baptist Convention Men’s Department at 904-596-3121 or toll free 800-226-8584 (ext. 3121). Others are directed to contact the Emergency Command Center for information at 941-423-7131.

Financial donations can be sent to: Hurricane Charley Relief, Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, Fla., 32207.

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  • Joni B. Hannigan