Report from American Baptist Home Mission Societies

September/October 2016

  • American Baptist Home Mission Society’s Disaster-response Ministries has released $10,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds to the West Virginia Baptist convention and $2,500 to American Baptist churches of Indiana/Kentucky for recovery efforts following June storms that caused flooding and significant damage. Noting OGHSWV Floods” or OGHS-IN Floods”, you can contribute to OGHS online, or mail a contribution to Kim Wilkins, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482- 0851. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1- 800-222-3872, x2413, or kim.wilkins@abhms.org.
  • The Minidoka Pilgrimage: An American story for times such as these—In June, ABHMS Associate Executive Director of Communications Susan Gottshall was among 250 people who participated in an annual pilgrimage to the site of the former Minidoka internment camp, near Twin Fall, Idaho, where thousands of Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. (Over 127,000 were imprisoned in 10 internment camps.) Via a blog of words and photographs on ABHMS’ website, Gottshall shares the experiences of pilgrims who had lived in the camp as children and descendants seeking to honor the memory of family members who were imprisoned there. (Read more at www.abhms.org>News Room Mission Stories>The Minidoka Pilgrimage: an American Story for Times Such as These.”)

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In response to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Disaster Relief Office has distributed a $2,500 Emergency Grant from American Baptist Churches USA One Great Hour of Sharing funds to American Baptist Churches of Michigan. The region will forward funds to Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Flint, which is coordinating American Baptist relief efforts in the city. Both the state and federal governments have declared a state of emergency in the city because its drinking water is contaminated with lead, rendering it unsuitable for dinking, cooking and bathing.

“While there are certainly justice and advocacy dimensions to the crisis in Flint, ABHMS is pleased to make this first installment on behalf of American Baptists in responding to the immediate human need for clean water,” says Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director. “And we urge our American Baptist family to continue your generosity which makes such gifts possible.”

Mount Olive has been providing Flint residents with bottled water. In partnership with the health department and YMCA, Mount Olive will host a Family Fun Fair on February 25 at which children’s lead levels can be tested.

“This grant will allow us to be the hands and feet for Christ in our community as we seek to do his will,” says Russell Kirksey, deacon and donations coordinator at Mount Olive. “This situation is of an indeterminate period of time. Government officials still have not put forth a plan for a long-term fix for the problem.”

For those who would like to help financially, donations designated to “One Great Hour of Sharing—Flint Water Cri-sis” can be mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Val-ley Forge, PA 19482-0851. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or kim.wilkins@abhms.org.

One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.