Disaster Care

ABCNJ Joins ABCUSA Emergency Disaster Relief Task Force

A damaged road in Toa Alta, west of San Juan. Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Gerry Images

A damaged road in Toa Alta, west of San Juan. Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Gerry Images

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, Dr. Familiaran and ABCNJ Disaster Relief Coordinator, Denise Gratzel, joined in the first roundtable conference call of a national emergency disaster relief task force convened by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. ABCNJ is one of the ABC agencies that was invited to join this national task force which will spearhead the multi-year concerted effort of American Baptists to “Rebuild, Restore, and Renew” all of ABC of Puerto Rico's 114 churches and nine missions, all of which has been damaged - and some have been totally devastated - by Hurricane Maria. The hurricane's catastrophic destruction on the entire island of Puerto Rico is complete, far-reaching and cataclysmic in scope. 

Vicky Goff, ABHMS Associate Director for Passionary Movements and Coordinator of Disaster Relief, and known very well in ABCNJ by way of our partnership in the Hurricane Sandy relief work, has been appointed to lead this massive American Baptist relief effort. 

An on-site ABHMS assessment team composed of Vicky Goff, Salvador Orellana and Susan Gottshall left for Puerto Rico yesterday to meet with leaders of the ABC of Puerto Rico and conduct on-site inspections with them to guide us in prioritizing our relief efforts to make optimum impact in effecting succor to our fellow American Baptists there. 

While we continue to support the Relief work from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that damaged Texas and Florida respectively, ABCNJ encourages its churches to give to give over and above and sacrificially to the Puerto Rico Relief by sending their contributions to ABCNJ or ABHMS and indicate on your check's memo line, "OGHS - PUERTO RICO." 

In a very short while, ABCNJ will call for volunteers to join work teams that will be deployed in this long-term relief work with our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico.  

(Main image of this article of Hurricane Maria overwhelming the island of Puerto Rico is from NASA )

Fair Schedules, Disaster Care and the Upcoming Elections


The church needs to rediscover its voice and respond to the pressing needs of our world! In support of that mandate, the ABCNJ Public Mission Committee is asking the region's pastors and churches to consider three important issues that affect the lives of the people in our congregations and the community at large.

Fair Schedules NJ

Do you have church members, friends or family that hold jobs that feature inconsistent schedules? Several ABCNJ pastors (James deBoer, Marsha Butler, Kathleen Roney, Osvaldo Jimenez and others) have invested energy in this issue and are wondering if other ABCNJ churches and pastors might wish to join in their efforts. Attached is a flyer in Spanish and English that explains the issues, and an email you can write to if you would like to become more involved or share your own experiences.

Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care Providers

ABCNJ pastor Willard Ashley has been a nationally recognized leader in providing spiritual care in response to natural and humanity-caused disasters. The Red Cross is offering classes for clrgy who are interested in becoming Red Cross certified Disaster Spiritual care Providers. See the attached flyer for course information.

Responding Spiritually to the National Elections

The committee also had a lively conversation on the state of American politics and how the church needs to respond. The Committee is encouraging our churches to foster reconciliation, healing and unity in two ways.

First, we ask every church to include prayers for our country's unity and reconciliation during their Communion services on Sunday, November 6 - two days before the election.

Second, we are inviting the ABCNJ family to join in a region-wide time of prayer by group telephone on Monday evening, November 7 at 7:00 PM, hosted by Rev. Dr. Gloria and Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Newark.

Participant Instructions:

  1. Call the Dial-In Number – (515) 739-1285
  2. Enter your Access Code – 733193.

The ABCNJ Public Mission Committee seeks to foster dialogue and action as our region grows in spiritual health and mission faithfulness. Examples of issues covered in the past are immigration and the death penalty, missions supported in the past include ESL, Sacred Safe Spaces and Anti-Poverty. At its December 1 meeting, the Committee will focus on adoption.


[raw] [column size="1/2"]

Disaster Care

Disaster Care Thumbnail [/column] [column size="1/2" last]

Fair Schedules

Fair Schedules [/column] [/raw]