Call to Response for Those Affected by Hurricane Idalia

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American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) continues to pray for strength and protection for those affected by Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall August 30 along the Big Bend area of Florida’s Gulf Coast as a high-end Category 3 storm driving record-breaking storm surge. As it traverses the Southeast United States, with Georgia and South Carolina squarely in its path, Idalia continues to unleash violent winds and torrential rain, wreaking destruction.

The Tallahassee-based National Weather Service office warned that “locations may be uninhabitable for several weeks or months” due to wind damage.

The Rev. Dr. James M. Harrison, the regional executive minister of the South, said: “There are several American Baptist Churches in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in the direct path or flood surge of Hurricane Idalia. We appreciate all the prayers, financial support and care American Baptists will offer, especially in response to communities that can get overlooked.”

The Rev. Lisa Harris-Lee, ABHMS director of Healing & Transforming Communities, said: “We are all seeing the images of strong winds, flooding and destruction from Hurricane Idalia.” She reminded us that we should not become desensitized from frequent exposure to requests for assistance such as this: “We may be getting weary of hearing them, but we make these appeals for support precisely because we know the anticipated needs will be great in months and years to come. Our constant prayers and generosity are meaningful immediate responses as followers of Jesus Christ.”

First reports from the affected areas show widespread devastation, with submerged homes and vehicles, downed power lines, snapped tall trees and flying debris. More than 330,000 households in Florida and Georgia are without electricity.

How you can help:

Please join American Baptists in supporting the relief efforts directed toward those who were in the path of the torrential rains and floods. One hundred percent of designated OGHS gifts are allocated to domestic disaster relief.

Checks designated to “OGHS 2023 Hurricanes” should be mailed to ABHMS’ Office of Development, care of Kim Wilkins, 1075 First Avenue, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406. Checks should include the name of the donor’s church to ensure that it receives credit for the gift.

The World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA administers One Great Hour of Sharing. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.

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