A devastating typhoon has hit the Philippines, and early reports indicate widespread destruction and the loss of over one thousand lives. ABCNJ has enjoyed a very positive relationship with the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. In the last 2 years, we have led two mission initiatives in this country. The storm passed directly over the part of the country where most of the Philippine Baptist churches serve. I know that you and your ABC church will want to respond to this crisis, and this letter is intended to provide you with guidance on how to do so most effectively. The American Baptist Churches of New Jersey is especially suited to work with you in this crisis, since we have among us many Filipinos, including one of our Associate Regional Pastors (Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran) and one of our Council Vice-Presidents (Rev. Felix Tingson).
There are two ways you and your church can provide offerings for disaster relief and recovery which benefits the people of the Philippines.
ABCUSA One Great Hour of Sharing Offering
This option is good for a general response to the crisis. You can use the ABC missions form to record and designate your gift. Use line “OGH” for this.
Through ABCNJ’s Philippines Ministries Response Fund
This option is best for responding to the many specific aid requests our region and churches will be receiving over the coming months. This fund, administered by ABCNJ, will have 3 priorities:
- Emergency aid to ABCNJ related families affected by the storm in the Philippines.
- Emergency aid to Philippine Baptist churches that need to rebuild or make repairs, in cooperation with the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, our partner in ministry.
- Financial support for efforts of Philippine Baptist Churches to help their members and community recover from the storm.
Church donations to the ABCNJ Philippines Ministries Response Fund can be made using the ABC missions form – or just send your donation to the region office and we will do the paperwork for you. Make checks out to: ABCNJ. Use the line SPECIFICS (SPC) and in the details box write “ABCNJ Philippines Ministries Response Fund.” For individuals, checks should be made out to ABCNJ and write “ABCNJ Philippines Ministries Response Fund” in the memo line. Both church and individual gifts may be sent to the region office.
We are asking every ABCNJ church to take a special offering for this purpose before the end of the year. Please do not re-designate offerings for ongoing mission gifts (such as United Mission or Region Offering) for this purpose. Your people will be generous if they are presented the opportunity to give!
Update from Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran, ABCNJ Associate Regional Pastor
Here is the latest word I received this morning from Henna Baclagon, community development and disaster relief officer of CPBC. “Iloilo Province is badly hit and so is Capiz and Aklan and not so much in Iloilo City. Me and Feraz had just arrived from our monitoring but most of the roads are not passable yet especially water from the Jalaur river is rising. Even government aid cannot get through via land transport. Capiz is still now out of contact and we are finding ways how to. Tomorrow, we will try to reach those who are still isolated.. Thank you so much for the support again.”