American Baptists Mobilize after Hurricane SandyDear ABCNJ Family, The state of New Jersey and the entire northeastern part of the United States continues to make slow progress in recovering from Hurricane Sandy. It seems hardly possible that it has only been 3 days since the storm left our area. In its wake, we have endured a lack of electricity, heat, food supplies and gasoline. Our time of hardship is hardly over, but it does feel good to see schools and businesses reopen, and public transportation get back on line. Each day brings new signs of hope and progress, and we do not journey alone! In this update, I will share a number of encouraging announcements regarding how ABCNJ and our partners in ministry will be helping you and your church receive additional assistance, and how you can help others if you are in a position to do so.
ABCNJ Open House for One Great Hour of Sharing Aid
ABCNJ received today $50,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing funds from ABHMS to distribute to ABCNJ churches throughout our region, to help you take care of emergency needs. In order to get it to you without delay, we are hosting an Open House on Monday, November 5 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at our Hamilton Square Office (3752 Nottingham Way, Trenton, NJ 08690). Pastors and/or their designated lay leaders are invited to come, pray together, enjoy some light refreshments, and provide us with the necessary information we need to process your church’s aid request on the spot. Our application form is just one page long and can be filled out before you come (it will be on www.abcnj.net on Saturday and you can then download it, or we can help you fill it out on Monday. We will consider reimbursements for the following situations:
- Emergency repair costs for church facilities, including parsonages and pastor’s homes.
- Costs for replacing damaged or lost items that the church owned.
- Expenses churches incurred in ministering to your people (food, blankets, clothing, etc.).
- Relocation expenses incurred due to homes without power or that were lost/damaged.
Please bring proof of purchase documentation (bills, invoices, etc.). The region expects that churches will be working with their property insurance company as well. We are prepared to reimburse you for expenses not covered by your policy (such as your deductible).
Emergency Teams for Tree Cutting and Debris Removal
The District of Columbia Baptist Churches, a sister region, is mobilizing its Chain Saw and Debris Clearing Teams to come to New Jersey next week to help churches and your members deal with all of the trees that have fallen on our properties. Their ministry can save your church and its people hundreds, and even thousands of dollars! They will arrive early next week and be deployed around the region from Wednesday through Sunday. Special thanks to my friend, Rev. Ricky Creech, Executive Minister, for organizing this effort on our behalf!
In order to get on their list, we need you to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the region office. We will need the name of the church or church member (if it is a personal property), full address, and telephone number. We will create a schedule and let you know approximately when the team will be at your site. If you have a neighbor that needs tree cutting and clearing, we will try to accommodate their needs as time allows.
Special thanks to Hamilton Square Baptist Church for allowing the region to use its kitchen and fellowship hall to feed our worker-guests (the group may range from 8-30 people, depending on how many are available). We would like to house our guests in homes in and around Hamilton Square – and so I am asking our Capital Association pastors to recruit homes on Sunday morning and then let me know. We will have both men and women on the teams.
Another team from the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware is heading up to our Baptist Camp Lebanon to help with tree and debris removal this weekend. Their Executive Minister, Rev. Frank Frischkorn, is also a valued friend of mine!
Through Dr. George Bullard, ABCNJ today learned that the North Carolina Baptist Men have been deployed to New Jersey to meet emergency food needs. I spoke today with Gaylon Moss, their Disaster Relief Coordinator. They have set up a major facility at Rutgers University, and also have a site at FBC Toms River. If your situation has improved to the point where you can volunteer some time and would like to join their efforts, click the link below to register your intention:
In the skills section, please type in “American Baptists of New Jersey.” This will alert their coordinator regarding how to proceed with assignment.
I know that many of our churches are already opening your doors to the community for hospitality and special services. Please pass on your activities and stories to the region office so we can share them with others. If you write an article and send a picture, we will consider publishing it on www.abcnj.net. And remember, you can always share your news on our Facebook community page, https://www.facebook.com/abcnj.
Making Christmas a Little Brighter for New Jersey’s Children
Today, through our Facebook community page, I received a wonderful message from Cindy Coombs Leaphart, who currently lives in Alabama. Cindy and her husband attended FBC Red Bank while he was stationed at Fort Monmouth. She dreams of sending boxes of Christmas toys to New Jersey children who have lost so much because of hurricane Sandy, and she has asked ABCNJ to partner with her to distribute the gifts. I think this is a wonderful idea! This could be a difficult Christmas and holiday season for many New Jersey families, and this is a great way to provide some cheer and love to those in need. After we get through the crisis, we will ask for churches to join in on this project, as both donors and distributors of gifts!
A Little Miracle Story
Many of you have testified that God has been with you throughout this crisis. He is faithful, even in the midst of the storm! Here’s a neat little miracle story…Osbornville asked ABCNJ for a generator this afternoon. Try finding one in NJ! We asked Rev. Dale Miller of FBC Bethlehem, PA to help us find one, and he writes:
“We will be delivering the generator to the Osbornville Baptist Church this evening around 9 p.m. It is a miracle! We made a lot of calls to local stores with no success in locating a generator. About 1/3 of the power is still out in Bethlehem and the generators are in hot demand. Our custodian ran to home depot to pick up something and the truck with the generators pulled in at the same time. Now that is a God thing! So, we are glad to make the run!”
God is good! All the time!