Hurricane Sandy

Coming together for NJ – 2016 Work Week


July 9-16, 2016

Join us in New Jersey for a week of service as we rebuild, renew and restore those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Information about this important ministry can be found in the tabs below. For further inquiries please contact Victoria Goff at the American Baptist Home Mission Societies.
[label style="default" icon="phone"]Phone[/label] 610-768-2449 [label style="info" icon="envelope"]Email[/label]

[raw] [tabs style="framed" nav="tabs" tab1="Highlights" tab2="FAQ" tab_3="Forms"] [tab_1]

  • hands-on efforts to rebuild homes, communities and lives
  • encouraging and supporting those in need
  • worshiping with local American Baptist congregations
  • enjoying the New Jersey shore.[/tab_1] [tab_2]

How do I participate in New Jersey Work Weeks?

  • If coming as a group, assign a group leader to be responsible for making and confirming reservations. If you aren’t coming in a group, you are still very welcome to participate.
  • Download registration packet at or and return application and release forms with the registration fee.
  • Once the forms are received, you will receive a confirmation letter/e-mail and a volunteer information packet. The volunteer information packet will include detailed information on housing, the agenda, what to expect and what to bring.

What is the time commitment?

Volunteers are asked to serve one week. Arrive on Saturday, plan to worship with a local American Baptist congregation on Sunday morning, explore the area on Sunday afternoon, work Monday-Friday, and travel home on Saturday. If your schedule only permits you to come for part of the week, you are definitely welcome to join us.

Are there any age requirements?

YES, at this time we ask that all volunteers be over the age of 14. Those using power tools must be over the age of 18 years old. Youth groups must include an appropriate ratio of 1 adult advisor for every 4 youth of each gender.

Do I need to be a member of an American Baptist church?

No. People of all faith traditions are welcome to participate.

How can I help even if I can't go to a New Jersey Work Week?

  • Sponsor someone else that desires to attend.
  • Host a fundraiser to support volunteers and other costs.
  • Offer prayers for the region and the volunteers.

What type of work will I be doing?

There is normally a variety of home repair activities like painting, laying sheet rock, and cutting grass, etc.

What do I need to bring with me?

  • Work clothes that can get dirty and are loose-fitting
  • A change of clothes for the end of the work day
  • Closed-toed shoes that are suitable for construction work • Sunscreen and a hat
  • Water bottle
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Plastic or cotton work gloves
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Small personal flashlight

Do I have to bring my own tools?

No, the local organization has all of the tools that are needed. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own eye protection and work gloves; however safety equipment will be provided for those who do not have any. Volunteers are notified if they need to bring any particular tools.

Do I need to have construction skills?

No. Unskilled volunteers, male or female, with a willingness to learn are invited to work alongside those who are skilled.

Is there any other kind of help needed besides construction?

Yes. People are needed to run errands and to help the New Jersey Work Weeks run smoothly.

Is there any special training?

No. The local disaster organization trains volunteers to serve in various areas of construction.

If I’m flying to New Jersey, which airport should I use?

Volunteers coming for the July work week can consider the following airports:

  • Philadelphia (PHL), 80 miles; approximately 1 1⁄2-hour drive;
  • Newark (EWR), 50 miles; approximately 1-hour drive;
  • Trenton (IND), 50 miles; approximately 1-hour drive;
  • Atlantic City (BMI), 65 miles; approximately 1 1⁄4-hour drive

Do I need my own transportation?

It is recommended that volunteers provide their own transportation. If needed, assistance will be provided regarding finding suitable transportation to and from worksites.

What can I expect for housing accommodations?

Housing accommodations have been made at local churches in the community.

Air mattresses are needed for those staying at the churches. If you are able to bring your own cot or mattress, it would be greatly appreciated, otherwise one will be provided. Housing will be dorm style.

What can I expect for food accommodations?

All meals will be provided. We will do our best to accommodate the needs of vegetarians and those with food allergies.[/tab_2] [tab_3]

Workweek 2016 Flyer

Workweek 2016 FAQ

Workweek 2016 registration

Workweek 2016 release

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Hope Rises in Somers Point


The Morales family are hard workers who lived along the Bay Avenue section of Somers Point. Then along came Hurricane Sandy who swept them from their modest home. Having a child who is physically challenged made the forced exit even more painful. Area resident, restauranteur and philanthropist, Geoff Hieb, gathered his resources and reached out to other caring people to help the family rebuild. Geoff, whose restaurant is situated down Bay Avenue from the Morales home, caught the breeze of care that flows from Seaview Baptist Church. Seaview has a mission to extravagantly bless people with the love of God and that is just what is happening. American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, which has done extensive work in rebuilding after the storm, joined in the effort. Almost two years after the storm, as a new home is taking shape on Bay Avenue, hope is rising.

Special Delivery – The Birth of a Ministry


We have a NEW arrival coming in April; a wonderful addition to aide in Disaster Response. Through grants provided by The American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) and First Baptist Church of Manasquan we have purchased a 7x14 utility trailer to support ABCNJ’s Disaster Response Teams. Special thanks to the Missions Team from First Baptist Church of Mt. Holly. They will be preparing the trailer to store the tools we have already acquired, and to make rooms for needed additions in the future.

As American Baptist we will join other denominations to be the Hands and Feet of our Lord. We want to be among the first to arrive to deliver the aid needed to our churches and their communities, and to be ready to be deployed in other emergency situation .

We now know that there are three stages in any disaster :

  • The Initial Stage - emergency mode , warmth, provide shelter and tend to health issues.
  • The Renew Stage - opening of Government offices, gas stations and food markets.
  • The Rebuilding Stage - this is where we are in NJ now . It is the most difficult and longest stage.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

I would love to share with you, minister with you as together we continue to change the lives of those effected by disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

Please join us for one of the following “Coming Together For New Jersey-2014” work weeks:

  • July 12-19 – Manasquan area
  • August 9-16 – Atlantic City & Wildwood areas.

You can register by filling out the registration packet available found at this link.

Coming together, a call to long-term recovery

God has made us who we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us todo good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.

– Ephesians 2:10 NCV

Summer recovery teams

  • July 12-19 – Manasquan , NJ area
  • August 9-16 – Atlantic City & Wildwood , NJ areas.

As we look together at 2014 and what recovery looks like at the Jersey Shore, let me share a few things with you.

Since Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, 2012 the ranks of the homeless in N.J. have swelled. Many living on the streets , in homes without heat , on second floors with gutted ground floors.

Yes, the storm is over but Long Term Recovery goes on. We need your help!

Our partners we joined with last summer have been very busy doing case management, and are looking to partner again with ABCNJ/ABHMS.

How you can help

  • Pray for those families still displaced and suffering.
  • Continue to give financial support to Sandy Relief through One Great Hour of Sharing.
  • Plan to join us on either of our work weeks this summer , by registering through the  ABHMS website.
  • Pray for God to open opportunities not only for us to do physical labor, but  also for places where we can shine His light and spread His word.

Together we have and will continue to bring Hope while being the Hands and Feet of our Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ. We will come together once again to, "Rebuild, Restore and Renew" New Jersey!

ABCNJ Hosts Hurricane Sandy Work Week #3

Volunteers from FBC Westfield Ninety-four (94) volunteers from NJ, PA , RI, MI, MD, NY , IN and WV joined together to Rebuild, Restore and Renew homes and families along the Jersey shore from July 13-20.

In Seabright, three of our teams moved approximately 250-300 buckets of sand a hour - up stairs and over a seawall back to the beach from where it came. Our teams rebuilt the stairs that the ocean washed away, finished painting and worked inside the house. They also moved and replanted some plants in the yard. Special thanks to our home owner for providing the large tools we needed and then donating them to our ABCNJ Tool Library.

Other teams worked at the Visitation Relief Center, which is also a distribution sight for all kinds of things a family might need to get back on their feet.

And on Friday of that week a Special Mission was planned for three groups to go to an island in the Mantoloking River. Our mission was to retrieve a home owner's personal items that remained in their attic. The attic separated from the house during Sandy, floated down stream and rested on a Federally protected Island. Our Special Agents traveled by pontoon boat and walked on the marsh land to reach the roof - only to find that the attic had been looted. In 105 degree heat and alongside very large bugs we worked fast to retrieve what we could. God revealed to me that anything we found, no matter how small (like two very small dolls) would bring great joy and a blessing to them. Among things found: a book signed by someone's father and a hymnal.

Lesson of the week - no matter if you're pulling weeds,moving rocks, cutting wood, sorting clothes or retrieving lost treasures - every BIG and small task we did made a difference to someone.

All of our ABCNJ/ABHMS teams sent a message of love and hope that American Baptists do care and together we make a difference!

S. Denise Gratzel ABCNJ Disaster Response Coordinator


Hurricane Sandy Response - Awesome Deeds of Righteousness!


ABCNJ/ABHMS Sandy Work Week

Making a Difference!



ABCNJ and our American Baptist partners are making a difference on the Jersey shore (and beyond)!

Volunteers from FBC Westfield

The third of four Hurricane Sandy Relief work weeks, sponsored jointly by ABCNJ and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, is coming to a successful close.  Volunteers from New Jersey (ABCNJ), Pennsylvania (ABCOPAD), Indiana (ABC Ind/KY), Rhode Island (ABCORI) and West Virginia (WVBC) are among those participating - 94 in all!

As Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of ABCNJ, I am so proud of how our region and its churches have responded to the storm.  We have repaired and rebuilt buildings, and more importantly, have served our communities in countless ways.These work weeks demonstrate that we are not alone - the entire ABCUSA family is alongside us!  And we are making a difference in the lives of families along the shore and beyond.  Folks keep letting us know how much they appreciate what the volunteers are doing.

I had the opportunity to visit some of the work sites on Tuesday (August 16), accompanied by Victoria Goff (ABHMS), Denise Gratzel (ABCNJ Disaster Relief Coordinator) and Mark Mahserjian-Smith (ABCOPAD).

A refrigerator damaged by the storm.

This has been an extraordinarily hot week, but that has not dampened the enthusiasm of our volunteers.  Each day they keep on serving!

Our Hurricane Sandy Response volunteers are involved in many activities, including painting interior walls of homes damaged by the storm, cleaning up and beautifying yards, hauling debris from homes (like refrigerators!), preparing a community center for future relief activities, and preparing the building adjacent to ABCNJ's Pilgrim Baptist Church, for future ministry.

But it is not just the physical labor that is touching peoples' lives.  Our volunteers have also been listening to the stories of and then praying with those they are helping.  Many have been through so much trauma and they deeply appreciate a listening and compassionate friend.

Victoria Goff, a homeowner, Denise Gratzel and Lee Spitzer

awesome deeds of righteousness

2013-07 Sandy Work Week 8As I reflected on what is happening in our midst, I was led to read Psalm 65.  In verse 5 and 7, David exclaims: "You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, ...who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves."  This week, I witnessed the "awesome deeds of righteousness" of God's people in response to the storm of a century, and from their actions, God's grace and love brought a measure of peace and consolation to those whose lives have been tossed about.

Looking to the future, we still have a work week scheduled for August 10-17, 2013.   In 2014, we hope to sponsor two more work weeks.

ABCNJ/ABHMS Hurricane Sandy Work Week 2

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.

2013-06-06 Hurrican Sandy Work weekRahway 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.


ABCNJ Youth Encouraged to Become Agents for Jesus


ABCNJ’s Senior High youth conference was held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Camp Lebanon.  Sixty five youth and youth leaders from the region gathered to share and reflect on the theme “Special Agents for Jesus Christ: Preparing Youth for Service" based on Ephesians 1:1-4.  The day was filled with praise and worship, speakers, panel and small group discussions. Rev. Erin Phillips, Associate Regional Pastor, welcomed the group and shared the region’s excitement about involving the youth in varies ways throughout the region. Rev. Marella Holmes, Associate Regional Pastor for Youth Ministry, shared a motivating and inspiring word from God. She challenged to youth to accept their assignment from Jesus Christ as an agent to serve the people of God.

2013-04-27 YM 3Four youth from Mount Zion Baptist Church in Newark led the panel discussion about their experience at IMMERSE 2012 conference. They spoke about service projects they participated in while attending the conference. The youth shared how the service projects made a difference in the lives of the people they helped; it changed their worldview and strengthened their faith in God. One of the panelist shared how she gave her life to Christ as a result of the service projects during the IMMERSE 2012 conference.

Ms. Denise Gratzel, ABCNJ Disaster Response Coordinator, shared opportunities in which the youth could serve in the region this summer at work camps in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in areas destroyed by Super Storm Sandy.

Rev. Tamara Davis, ABCNJ “Sacred Safe Spaces” Special Project Coordinator, presented ways in which youth can serve as a Christian example of a healthy relationship with peers in school, the community and church. The conference ended with prayerful reflections and affirmations that we are special agents for Jesus Christ in the Green Cathedral at Camp Lebanon.

Overall the youth and youth leaders were inspired and encouraged to be special agents for Jesus Christ by serving others in their communities, schools churches and ABCNJ region. Everyone had a great time.


What has 34 legs and is good for New Jersey?

A Report by Lee Brewer, FBC Red Bank The answer is the 17 young men and women who drove from Ohio’s University of Cincinnati campus to Red Bank, New Jersey. They came to do their share to help families recover and rebuild our Union Beach area. 2 skilled volunteer contractors from the FBC Red Bank congregation helped and watched over them to assure that these young people were able to deliver quality work. Together they became known as the “Hope Team”. Pastor Ty Choate and the men and women of First Baptist Church of Red Bank's hospitality and food teams housed them, and fed them. One evening meal included all of the church welcoming them. Another was a pizza party with the Youth group of First Baptist. The final dinner included the entire church saying goodbye to them. In all, the First Baptist Red Bank family provided more than 240 dinners and 115 bag lunches and breakfasts to our Ohio volunteer work team. They were great. We did not know them before they arrived, but they were our good friends when they left.

The UC men and women are in a Baptist campus organization led to New Jersey by Ken Dillard. They gave up their Spring break to help in our community by building and rebuilding, and just giving hope to families in need. They hauled, installed, spackled, painted and cleaned up in our Union Beach area. Union Beach residents have been courageous and there still are many challenges ahead for them. That is why Red Bank’s First Baptist Church will host 2 or 3 more working groups during the next 6 months –Our target is to continue to help families in our Union Beach area. For more information or how you can help go to - For lots of pictures of the Hope Team go to First Baptist Church of Red Bank on Facebook.


Our friend Jim Berger has been promoted!

Pastor Jim BergerWhen we began our missionary service in 2000 we could not imagine the twists and turns of the journey we were undertaking. Since our mission society encourages a more relational support system, as a family we fully embraced the new way of being closer to our siblings in Christ and the congregations where they serve. Through our many visits in the Garden State, we were blessed to meet Pastor Jim Berger, his family, and the congregation he pastored. We were very sad to learn of Jim’s unexpected passing earlier this month. Indeed, our friend Jim Berger has been promoted! We were so blessed in each of our visits with Jim in Cape Island Baptist Church (2007, 2009, and 2012) and his sweet spirit was always an encouragement. We would talk about EBTS and Israel, we would talk about the struggles to see the church thrive and the blessings of what was working, we would talk about health and he would shy away not wanting to draw attention to himself. Sitting at the table with Jim and Sarah, Catherine and Dorothy, was always a blessing! On our last visit, we just popped in as it was the after-Sandy era and we just wanted to make sure that our congregations were doing well. It wasn’t a planned visit, so Jim was surprised that we had driven all the way to Cape May just to make sure they were ok. He was the only one from the congregation we saw that morning. He mentioned that it had been a while since he was last ill and he was grateful for that. His constant health challenges were draining and he was grateful for a break from them.

We certainly weren’t expecting that this un-informal visit of ours in Cape Island BC would be the last time we were to see Jim Berger. We’re glad we did and we will continue to pray for his wife Sarah, for their daughters Catherine and Dorothy, and for all in the congregation at this time of grief and mourning. There is hope in Christ for the ultimate reunion, but the physical separation is always painful.

May God’s peace that surpasses all understanding comfort us all as we say farewell together to a friend who has been promoted! As the song keeps playing in the church’s website, “I can only imagine”; Jim already knows and enjoys what the Lord promised him. Jim already enjoys his heavenly mansion. Jim is already pain free. Let us continue serving together, as Jim did, in God’s spirit as we serve the Lord where each of us is (you in ABCNJ and us in Nicaragua and beyond as each of our missionary colleague serves).

Hurricane Sandy - Osbornville Baptist Responds


Osbornville Baptist Church was significantly involved in helping people to recover their lives after the horrendous Sandy hurricane. It was a strenuous experience for everybody, but we pulled together. Our first involvement as a church was with the Brick Presbyterian Church (also located on Drum Pt Road). Every evening for two full weeks, we served meals to hungry and traumatized people who had lost part, or all, of their homes. The home-cooked meals were delicious, and a real boost for them.

Osbornville 2Second, the people of OBC began to collect vast amounts of food, clothing, blankets, toiletries, and other supplies. Our Fellowship Hall was packed almost to the ceiling. People from the community visited us in droves on a daily basis. (The clothes which were left over have since been sent to the Ocean County Hunger Relief Warehouse and Thrift Story in Toms River.)

OBC also extended its hospitality program into the neighborhood. Each day, volunteer-couriers took covered plates of hot, home cooked meals to needy people in their homes.

We also began to serve community people a hot lunch in our Fellowship Hall; in fact, a limited number of people are still gathering at OBC for lunch.

One other item. OBC sponsored a benefit concert of Blue Grass Country Music. Three separate teams of musicians donated their services to the cause. One team came from as far as New York City to perform. The large amount of money raised was given to Sandy-programs for needy people.

Of course many people were responsible for the super effort described above. Some workers came from OBC; some workers came from the Brick community; and some workers came from out-of-state. Yesterday, three ladies from the ABC church in Bethlehem, Penna were sorting clothes in our Fellowship Hall. Also, Rev. Brent Miller and other members of the Baptist Church in Phoenixville paid a second over-night visit yesterday to help people in our community to get their homes back into shape. They were housed in the OBC parsonage.

Shared by Rev. Jim King


FBC Red Bank - Christmas Presents on the Shore

The Christmas Season is normally a happy time for children. However this year, it became obvious that Super Storm Sandy destroyed chances for a “normal” Christmas for many children of Union Beach and Keansburg, New Jersey. Their homes had been destroyed or crippled, so thoughts of gifts were buried by the reality of brutal storm damage.
 In Mid November as the destruction of Sandy made headlines, four churches from Huntsville AL, South Carolina, and Eastern Pennsylvania contacted ABCNJ and First Baptist Church of Red Bank with offers to help. They began to gather, wrap, and finally ship close to 500 pounds of Christmas toys and clothing to us. Each gift was wrapped in brightly colored Christmas paper with bows, and labeled to show they were suitable for boy or girl and the estimated age group. The Sunday afternoon before Christmas was the appointed day of Gifting. The high winds off of the ocean made that day seem particularly harsh. In spite of the gusty cold, Sr. Pastor Ty Choate and his wife Janine from Red Bank’s First Baptist Church joined with men representing various American Legion groups to put a lot of warm smiles on young faces. Two more church friends, Lee and Angie joined the gift supply line to keep it filled and flowing. For everyone there, those cold moments proved to be an unforgettable day of warm love, happiness, and hope found within scenes of haunting destruction. DSCN1027   Submitted by Lee Brewer, FBC Red Bank

Help FBC Manasquan Respond to Hurricane Sandy


ABCNJ Family - FBC Manasquan needs our help as they continue to minister in one of the areas most effected by hurricane Sandy! They are operating a full-fledged service center, providing breakfast and lunch, food and clothing, and cleaning supplies for those who lost so much. They need volunteers to help keep the ministry going!

ABCNJ is organizing the December volunteer schedule for the church. We need 26 churches to volunteer to serve for one day (excluding Sundays) from 10 am to 2 pm. Your team should have between 4-7 people. You will help organize supply rooms, collect new donations, assist people who need supplies, and help prepare and serve lunch to guests and workers out in the field.

Please create a team tomorrow at church and provide us with two dates your team might be able to serve (first and second choice). You can let us know by emailing Dr. Spitzer at We want to have the schedule organized before Thanksgiving - so don't delay!

Helping and Serving After Hurricane Sandy


For Thanksgiving Week, 2012 

ABCNJ responded immediately following the storm, assessing damage and needs, providing pastoral support and encouragement, and coordinating relief efforts in concert with our ABC partners.  Over 50 churches reported some form of damage, ranging from minor to major.  Many of our churches have become mission stations, serving their communities as supply distribution centers, food providers, shelters for the homeless and volunteers, and worship sites for churches that lost their facilities.  They are expressing our commitment to following Christ in practical and helpful ways. As of 11/16/2012, ABCNJ has received $70,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing Assistance and an additional $4,385 in direct gifts from ABC of the Northwest (designated for Pastors’ needs), churches and individuals.   We have distributed $54,250 in aid so far (more requests come in daily).  We have helped 31 ABCNJ churches (and through them, church families and community members) and our Baptist Camp.  Specifically, $32,311 has been designated for assisting church members and communities (60%), $15,687 for facility repairs and damage (29%), $4,350 for Pastor relief and assistance (8%), and $1,902 for hosting volunteer groups and open houses for pastors from around the state (3%).  Going forward, we anticipate that the bulk of our OGHS need will be focused on ministering to church families and community outreach efforts our churches are engaged in.  There is much more to be done! ABCNJ has partnered with a number of ABC regions, and their help is much appreciated.  A team from the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware, led by Executive Minister Frank Frischkorn, did a great job helping to repair damage at Baptist Camp Lebanon.  This morning, the DC Emergency Response Team, under the direction of Executive Minister Ricky Creech, completed a week of intense tree cutting and debris clearing work.  They completed projects at 42 homes and churches, logging 100 volunteer days, 803 volunteer hours and $20,075 of in-kind labor!  An ABMen team from the Great Rivers Region is arriving today, and following them, a team from ABMen in New York State will be coming.  Assistance and supplies have come in from all over the country from non-ABC sources as well.

Everyone is Asking: “How Can We Help?”

Continue to encourage donations through One Great Hour of Sharing.  All of the impacted regions (and countries) can be helped through OGHS.

ABCNJ is able to distribute store gift cards to churches and families.  This enables them to buy what they need and supports businesses in our state.  The best cards to send us are: home supply stores (Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, WalMart, Target) and grocery stores (Shop-Rite, Acme, Foodtown).  Gift card collections can be mailed to ABCNJ, 3752 Nottingham Way, Suite 101, Trenton, NJ 08690.

ABCNJ’s Baptist Camp Lebanon will be opened up as a supply depot for non-perishable items.  Boxes may be shipped to: Baptist Camp Lebanon, 79 Blossom Hill Rd., Lebanon, NJ 08833.  We can only accept the following items:

  • Gallon Ziplock Bags
  • Heavy Duty Contractor Grade Garbage Bags
  • Bleach, other industrial cleaning supplies
  • Sponges, Buckets
  • Toilet Paper, Paper Towels
  • Shovels and Brooms
  • Dust masks and Work gloves
  • Bubble Wrap, Packing tape, and New Empty Boxes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Towels, Washclothes, Blankets, Sheets, Air Mattresses
  • New underwear and socks for men, women and children

Everyone is also Asking: “Can We Come and Help?”

We request that individuals with specialized skills contact the American Baptist Mission Societies’ Volunteers in Mission office.

If a church is in the mid-Atlantic area of the country, it may be practical to send a short-term team to do volunteer work.  Please email ABCNJ ( and provide full contact information, size of group and work focus.  We will share your offer with churches to see if they can accommodate you.  You will be responsible for all costs related to your visit.  Please understand that hotels are full and it takes a good deal of work to host a volunteer group.  For others, we strongly encourage that you consider monetary gifts instead of coming to New Jersey at this point.

Pastors and churches all over the country have contacted ABCNJ to see if they can create a sister church relationship with a specific impacted church.  Most of our churches, through existing relational ties, already have partnerships with other churches.   At this point, the region will acknowledge your request and pass it on to our churches for them to consider, but we cannot promise such a relationship will happen.

Moving from Crisis to Community Rebuilding

On behalf of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, I want to thank the ABC family for the encouragement, love and support we have received from all over the country.  This has been a trying time for our state, and the rebuilding effort will take many years to complete, but tremendous progress has already been achieved.

The two storms plunged New Jersey and surrounding areas into crisis.  Millions lost electrical power, heat, internet, cable TV.  High winds knocked down trees and damaged roofs everywhere, sand from our cherished beaches was pushed throughout entire towns, and floodwater damaged countless homes.  Gasoline had to be rationed in northern and eastern counties, in large part because service stations had no electrical power.  Many people lost everything because their homes were destroyed.

In just two weeks, schools have opened, the trains are running, gas rationing has ended, stores have reopened, and most areas have electricity and heat again.  I am so proud about how New Jerseyans rose to the challenges we have faced; one sees neighbors helping each other get back on their feet.  Downed trees are being removed, roofs are being repaired, and roads are being cleared.

Here is an idea: help us rebuild by vacationing in New Jersey next summer!  The Jersey shore is a magical place where generations of people have cherished memories of special family vacations.  Come and enjoy the shore and all of its attractions, and worship in one of our ABCNJ churches.  You’ll be most welcome!

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, ABCNJ Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor

Storm Updates From Camp Lebanon

One week after Hurricane Sandy ran through New Jersey and Camp Lebanon, our good friends from the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware (ABCOPAD) came to help out!  Pictured to the left is the Regional Executive Pastor of ABCOPAD.   Frank was accompanied by two other staffers, Rev. Mark Mahserjian-Smith and his son Luke as well as  Rev. Kevin Walden.  Our ABCOPAD friends did not come alone, early on Tuesday morning a van from the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem pulled in with their Senior Pastor, Rev. Dale Miller and four members of the church.  After a long day of cutting trees and branches and hauling them to the woods our friends from First Baptist left.  Frank and his crew worked into Tuesday helping to clear the way!  To date their has been almost 300 hours spent on storm cleanup alone! While we have lost enough trees to keep us busy for years to come, we were very blessed that the major building damage was limited to losing our two main barn doors and two windows.

Camp Lebanon Hurricane Sandy Clean-Up - Help from ABCOPAD


From Rev. Dr. Frank Frischkorn, Regional Executive Pastor, ABCOPAD: Dear Lee,

Thank you so much for the privilege of serving the churches of ABCNJ and Christ our King in the midst of the challenges that have come your way through Hurricane Sandy—we count it a distinct pleasure to partner with you!

A group of four of us arrived at Camp Lebanon on Sunday evening, including Regional Pastors Kevin Walden, Mark Mahserjian-Smith and myself, along with Mark’s son, Luke. First thing Monday morning we were joined by Pastor Steve Case, who currently serves as the Pastor at FBC, Mansfield, PA, but who has a deep and abiding love for ABCNJ and Camp Lebanon, and then by a team of five from the FBC of Bethlehem, led by Sr. Pastor Dale Miller. Don and Hilary put us to work immediately helping them to clear debris from trees that had been taken down by the ravages of the storm, as well as chain-sawing up complete trees that had been downed in the winds. It was a joy to work side by side with Don and Hillary, and to know that we were able to lighten their load.

Five of us stayed overnight on Monday and then continued our work through lunchtime on Tuesday, working with the chain saws in the ropes course area along with clearing the trail across the road from the main camp. Additionally we helped Hilary and Don ‘button up’ the barn, where the door had been ripped from the track. While there was still more work to be done when we left, we hope to send another team in the coming days to continue our support of your regional family in these difficult days, and look forward to other opportunities to serve at your side.

“Partnership” is a key part of our vision here in ABCOPAD, and we count it a deep honor to serve and encourage you, your staff and the churches of ABCNJ. Thank you , again, for affording us the privilege to serve.



ABCNJ-One Great Hour of Sharing Hurricane Sandy Aid Forms

Dear ABCNJ Family: Click below to download the MS-Word and Pdf versions of the ABCNJ Aid Form.  These will be available at the Region Hurricane Sandy Open House on Monday, November 5 (10:00am-1:00 pm).  We are placing them online for those who wish to fill them out ahead of time.

Be encouraged!

Help is on the Way!

American Baptists Mobilize after Hurricane Sandy

Dear 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 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:

  1. Emergency repair costs for church facilities, including parsonages and pastor’s homes.
  2. Costs for replacing damaged or lost items that the church owned.
  3. Expenses churches incurred in ministering to your people (food, blankets, clothing, etc.).
  4. 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 ( 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!

Service Opportunities

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  And remember, you can always share your news on our Facebook community page, 

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!