Summer 2017
My Prayer for the SBC: Health, Harmony, and Wholeness
Executive Committee Enlists ‘Young Leader’ CP Catalysts
Is the Cooperative Program Needed Anymore?
Putting Your ‘Yes’ on the Table, and Keeping it There
Quartzsite Church Ministers, No Matter Its Size
First Indian Baptist Church Committed to ‘Natives Reaching Natives’
Putting the World at the Feet of Jesus
Associational Prayer Ministry Transitions, Expands
Louisville ‘Intra-Church’ Ministry Trains Local Churches for Refugee Ministry
The First Act of Love
Standing Together: Children’s Homes Minister in Jesus’ Name
Adjusting to the Changing Face of Nashville
2011 Affirmation of Unity and Cooperation
EC Young Leaders Advisory Council Seeks Input
God’s Creative Glory on Display in Arizona
For the Pastor's Wife: Do You Believe?

 

SBC websites:
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SBC LIFE (ISSN 1081-8189), Volume 25, Number 4, © 2017 Southern Baptist Convention, Executive Committee


May 2017 Issue

Disaster Relief:
The Public Face of the Southern Baptist Convention

Compiled by Rebecca Wolford and Andy Beachum

For fifty years, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) has demonstrated Christ’s love in a tangible way to a watching world.

What started with a group of Texas Baptists assisting victims of Hurricane Beulah in 1967 has grown to be one of the three largest relief organization in the US. Each year, thousands of SBDR volunteers respond to disasters all over the country, meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those affected by hurricanes, tornados, flooding, fires, and more.

SBDR’s work is recognized nationally and internationally, having been featured in news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, and numerous local newspapers and television stations around the country. In 2016, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, an organization that helps coordinate relief efforts among various governmental, private sector, and nonprofit groups, presented SBDR with its National Member of the Year award.

These photographs celebrate fifty years of preparing meals, repairing roofs, providing childcare, removing debris, washing clothes, rebuilding homes, starting conversations, sharing the Gospel, and leading people in the midst of crisis to find healing in the Lord.

Alaska flooding 1967

Large-scale disaster relief efforts were underway in Fairbanks, Alaska, following the flooding of the Chena River in August of 1967. The flood left ten Southern Baptist churches heavily damaged and two hundred Baptist families homeless. It also caused the cancellation of the Alaska convention’s annual meeting after middle-of-the-night evacuations of several speakers, including Porter W. Routh, then-executive secretary of the SBC Executive Committee. A total of 122 volunteers went to Fairbanks, deploying to plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and masonry needs; the Home Mission Board sent $50,000 in relief funds and churches outside Alaska sent more than $11,000.

Photo courtesy of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

Hurricane Hugo 1989

Spencer Walwyn (left), pastor of Grace Central Baptist Church in St. Croix, issued a plea for Baptist volunteers to come and help rebuild his church and feed hungry people on the island devastated by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Assessing the damage and ways Baptists could respond were (left to right) Ed Richardson, executive secretary of the Puerto Rico Baptist Association; Paul Adkins, vice president for ministry at the SBC Home Mission Board; and Bill Arnold, disaster relief consultant for the SBC Brotherhood Commission and missions coordinator for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Photo by Jim Newton | Courtesy of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

Hurricane Rita 2005

This sign, sitting in front of a fallen tree, illustrated who residents in hard-hit southwest Louisiana often turned to for help after Hurricane Rita in 2005.

Photo by Tennessee Disaster Relief | Courtesy of Baptist Press

Texas flooding 2016

Austin CBS affiliate KEYE interviewed Mike Northen, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention disaster relief team leader and a pastor at First Baptist Church in Pflugerville, Texas. SBDR responded to the 2016 floods that impacted Pflugerville and the surrounding region.

Photo courtesy of Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

Hurricane Matthew 2016

A Tennessee Southern Baptist Disaster Relief chainsaw crew prayed with a homeowner in Savannah, Georgia, after completing a job at the home to remove downed trees and debris left by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Photo by Casey Jones | NAMB

Hurricane Matthew 2016

A Tennessee Southern Baptist Disaster Relief chainsaw crew prayed with a homeowner in Savannah, Georgia, after completing a job at the home to remove downed trees and debris left by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Photo by Casey Jones | NAMB

Flint water crisis 2016

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief chaplain Tom Owen (right) led a prayer with Flint, Michigan, homeowner Mercedes Menzies and SBDR volunteer Rick Bolen in 2016. Menzies and other residents of the city have been faced with health concerns over the water supply. SBDR volunteers were in the city to distribute drinking water and water filters to residents. Owen and Bolen are both members of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Independence, Kentucky.

Photo by John Swain | NAMB

SBDR 50th anniversary

Mickey Caison, executive director of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) for the North American Mission Board, spoke to state Baptist disaster relief leaders in Denton, Texas, as they gathered January 23–27, 2017, for their annual “Round Table” meetings and to celebrate the fifty-year anniversary of SBDR.

Photo Courtesy of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

9/11

Volunteers from North Carolina served meals to search and rescue teams at the Pentagon after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack there as part of Southern Baptists’ disaster relief efforts.

Photo by Michael Keza

Hurricane Andrew 1992

Volunteer groups, like this one from the North Carolina Disaster Relief Team, poured into southern Florida to provide food and encouragement to the victims of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Photo by Paul Obregon | Courtesy of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

Hurricane Sandy 2012

This large tent, one of several located at Zion Lutheran Church on Staten Island, housed college students who gave up part of their winter breaks to serve survivors of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The tents bunked more than five hundred students from sixteen states who served with trained Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers performing mud-out, cleanup, and other jobs to assist residents.

Photo by John Swain | NAMB

Rebecca Wolford is communications specialist for Convention communications and relations for the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. Andy Beachum is art director for Convention communications and relations for the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Clearview Baptist Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

Copyright © 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee
SBC LIFE is published by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
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