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September 1, 2008 | bpfna
ATLANTA. – As Hurricane Gustav heads toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is preparing its response to what could be the first major hurricane to hit the region since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Charles Ray, the Fellowship’s disaster response coordinator, said it’s important to remember that the Fellowship specializes in rebuilding efforts – not first response or search and rescue efforts. After the storm, Ray and other CBF personnel will assess the needs, determine how the Fellowship can best respond, and then communicate what Fellowship Baptists can do to help.
“We will respond [with teams on the ground] when it’s safe and the affected states give us permission,” said Ray, who will be in close communication with state officials and the local branches of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
When given clearance to begin on-site relief efforts, the Fellowship will work alongside its disaster relief partners, sharing equipment, resources and “often following their lead when they are more qualified or better equipped,” Ray said.
Though there may be opportunities for CBF responders to engage in immediate debris cleanup and removal following the storm, the long-term mission of CBF’s disaster response is to identify survivors with the greatest needs and the least resources to recover. In 2005 following Katrina, this guiding principle helped identify communities like Lacombe, La., and Pearlington, Miss., where the Fellowship has been engaged in ongoing rebuilding and restoration efforts.
Churches and individuals are encouraged to contact the disaster response coordinator in their state/regional CBF organization for more information on ways to respond. A list of these disaster response representatives can be found at www.thefellowship.info/Missions/Communities/Disaster-Response/State-or-Region-Contacts.
Updates on the Fellowship’s response to Gustav, including opportunities to respond, will be available at www.thefellowship.info/cbfresponds.
To contribute to hurricane relief efforts, send a check payable to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 101699, Atlanta, GA. 30392, indicating fund No. 17004 "Hurricane Relief" in the memo line, call (800) 352-8741 or go to https://www.thefellowship.info/Give/Donate.aspx?fund=HURR.
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.
Many of BPFNA's individual members and Partner Congregations are part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.