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What to do? Georgia Baptists among those looking to help

Credit cards now accepted for Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief

 

When Chris Davis began to realize the magnitude of the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina, he wanted to know how to help.

Giving a one-time monetary gift was good, but the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cataula, near Columbus, says his congregation wanted to commit even more.

Joe Westbury

Barbara Haener, left, and Eleanora Smith, second from left, both of Metarie, La., visit at the home of John and Laura Pike as First Thomasville pastor Dan Spencer listens in. The church has provided a variety of temporary housing for evacuees seeking lodging in the area. The church has already helped Smith to locate employment in her profession in Thomasville. On the first Sunday after the flood and in response to a letter to pastors by GBC Executive Director J. Robert White, the church spontaneously collected $50,000 for disaster relief.

"We're a small church that doesn't have a lot of money, but does have a lot of expertise," he says. "We want to involved for the long haul."

Those possibilities are opening for large and small churches alike. In addition to the giving of prayer and money to groups like Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief, other forums are opening up for churches of all sizes to join in with the recovery effort from Katrina.

Since the outset of the relief efforts, volunteers with Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief have been on site assisting the Red Cross in providing meals, cleanup and recovery, child care, communications, showers and chaplaincy for evacuees.

To donate funds for Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief, contact Men's Ministries of the GBC at (800) RING-GBC ext. 259, (770) 936-5259 or email jrichardson@gabaptist.org. Contributions can also be made by credit card at www.gabaptist.org by clicking on the disaster relief link.

Other avenues for contributing to the relief effort include:

Adopt a Church - Set up through the North American Mission Board, healthy SBC churches are being asked to adopt congregations along the Gulf Coast recovering from storm damage. The commitment of one to two years will require assistance through mission trips, rebuilding trips, care packages, financial support and encouragement to staff.

An unofficial estimate of severely damaged or completely destroyed churches in Louisiana topped out at 300. Final numbers are not known yet of the number of churches damaged in Mississippi and Alabama. For more information or to sign up, visit www.namb.net.

Houses of Hope - Southern Baptists may open their church facilities for displaced persons with an initial commitment of 30 days to this effort, also sponsored by NAMB. Recommended guidelines can be found on www.namb.net.

Help evacuees in Georgia - Governor Sonny Perdue has also opened up an avenue for churches looking to help evacuees through the Web site www.connections.org.

On the site a church representative can register their congregation to provide long-term relief to displaced persons caught in Katrina's path.

"This is a desperate hour for tens of thousands of our neighbors in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana," said Perdue, a member of First Baptist Church in Woodstock. "It calls for an extraordinary response."

Findshelter.org - Among Christian relief agencies helping to relocate families is Find Shelter. Bill Bangham, a Southern Baptist layman in Virginia, said the group is dedicated to connecting families with churches and other organizations willing to assist with long-term recovery. The North American Mission Board and North Carolina Baptist Men are among the first Southern Baptist entities to partner with the group.

For more information visit www.findshelter.org.