In response to the floods which occurred on August 13 FBC Manasquan is holding another work day at Greenbrier on Sunday, August 26. For more information, and to volunteer, please ABCNJ's Disaster Relief Coordinator, Denise Gratzel, directly at 732-614-3969.
The Philippines and Super Typhoon Haiyan/YolandaThe days and weeks after typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines were personally difficult for me. It was hard to find the right words to express my feelings about the devastation and death that the super storm wrought.
Television and social media brought us images and videos of unspeakable destruction and suffering. We also saw the overwhelming compassion that the world can muster when tragedy of such magnitude reminds us of our shared humanity, as many nations came to the aid of the Philippines. In the same way, but largely invisible to the eyes of foreign media, was the massive groundswell of volunteerism that was unleashed in the country, as Filipinos from all walks of life rose up and participated in whatever relief efforts that were summoned in their local communities and cities.
My relatives were spared from the brunt of the storm, as they were in cities located just outside the southern periphery of the typhoon. I am grateful to many of you who took time to ask me personally about the storm. But the region in the direct path of the typhoon included the historic center of ABC missions in the Philippines and, therefore, now the location of the vast majority of churches of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, ABCUSA's sister denomination there. The CPBC is my spiritual home and the ecclesial community of my ancestors.
Perhaps it was just as well, that words were hard to come by for me. It was difficult to describe the indescribable. While my relatives were spared, I know so many pastors, colleagues, and friends, who lost everything - their homes and churches. Many CPBC related institutions through whose halls many church leaders (including members of my own family) have journeyed through, have been utterly destroyed. We cannot lose sight of the larger reality of this tragedy. The humanitarian problem is immense. Some towns and cities have been literally wiped out, and all in the path of the typhoon sustained widespread structural damage on almost all dwellings. More than three million Filipinos have been displaced, and the vast majority of them are poor. It will take many years for the reconstruction and rebuilding of lives and property.
But not lost in our hearts are those closest to us - our sisters and brothers in the CPBC. Hindsight enables us now to celebrate the missionary heart of American Baptists. Our denomination's disaster relief fund, the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), released much needed money in the early few days of the emergency that helped the CPBC purchase basic necessities of food, water, medicine and makeshift shelters. Our ABCNJ appeal continues, and we are working closely with CPBC and with IM/ABCUSA in coordinating where our limited funds can make the biggest impact during the reconstruction phase that is now upon them. The photos in this article (a church and a CPBC related school) from the field relief operations of CPBC's development ministries office represent a small glimpse into the gravity of the damage.
We invite you to join us in this continuing effort. Church donations to the ABCNJ Philippines Response Fund can be made using the ABC missions form - or jsut send your donation to the region office and we will do the paperwork for you. Make checks out to: ABCNJ, 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" on the memo line.
ABHMS/ABCNJ Work Week # 2, June 1-8
A Report by Denise Gratzel, ABCNJ Disaster Response Coordinator
We have a wonderful Team consisting of volunteers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Illinois.
They have been busy working on two of our ABC , one in Rahway and the other in Red Bank.
Rahway suffered water damage and the church had to put on a new roof due to Hurricane Sandy. The other is a home where volunteers will be housed when they come to serve. The jobs included sheet rocking, painting, ceiling tile replacement and the removal of moldy insulation.
The delicious dinners were provided by local churches and church members. The only complaint volunteers have had is the weight gain, so don't come prepared to loose weight. We'll make you sweat but you will not loose weight . FBC Manasquan, Pastor Joe Gratzel worked very hard with church members and town officials to have two showers installed in time for the week.
Outings included a visit to Seaside Heights board walk and canoeing. If you are considering serving God in NJ though one of our two work weeks left, please register early. Because of the huge interest so far we are considering stopping registration at 100 volunteers per week.
July week is in Manasquan area again and August week we will be in Atlantic County , south Jersey. We will close registrations for both weeks two weeks before that work week starts.
May God bless you as you prepare to come join us Rebuild , Restore and Renew the Jersey shore areas.
"Special Agent for Jesus Christ"
First annual senior high youth conference
Date – Saturday, April 27
Location – Baptist Camp Lebanon
Cost – $20 (meals included)
The deadline for Mail-In Registration is April 21, 2013!
Download this flyer to promote the conference at your church!
Here are some of the keynote speakers, and discussion leaders you can look forward to encountering this year!