In a letter sent on August 31, 2017 to the ABC General Secretary, the Executive Directors/CEO's of the American Baptist Home Mission Society and International Ministries, Dr. Familiaran wrote:
Everyday we awake, the news bring more unspeakable horror and suffering from the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Words fail to describe what we continue to see unfold.
I write to all of you for several reasons:
- I want to reiterate the unwavering solidarity of ABCNJ with every effort that our national denomination is making in sending aid and relief to the affected people of Texas.
- Many ABCNJ churches have already responded to the OGHS appeal that have been issued in the region. And many more will respond. That appeal will be sustained through every channel in our communications network.
- In massive tragedies like these, it is also a sad reality that many unscrupulous people exploit the chaos and the emotions of people who are eager to help. We also have had many unpleasant experiences of the toxic mix of politics and dysfunctional national relief organizations mismanaging vital relief funds that never reach their intended recipients - a breach of trust that tarnishes the profound acts of mercy of many. I will be assuring our ABCNJ churches by emphasizing in the continuing appeals to ABCNJ the historic track record of ABCUSA of being good and faithful stewards of the relief resources that we deploy here and around the world through the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering and the work of the World Relief Committee (WRC) of the Board of General Managers (BGM) in overseeing the dispatch of those vital funds.
- ABCNJ has forged a vital partnership with The American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) and International Ministries (IM) in disaster relief born out of our joint response to Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. That partnership has deepened through the years and remains strong, personified in the outstanding team of Vickie Goff of ABHMS and Denise Gratzel of ABCNJ.
- The compassion of Christ is welling up from the hearts of many in our region who yearn to be of help. But we are also aware that organizing our limited resources into a strategic response can multiply its impact manifold. And so I want to assure all of you that ABCNJ stands ready to mobilize when called upon and join our national efforts and ABC regions near Texas in the long rebuilding and rehabilitation phase of this tragedy that lies ahead.
Let us continue to lift the people of Texas in our prayers and actions.