MBC still aiding battered Gulf Coast
Missouri Southern Baptist churches have donated more than $500,000
By Brian Koonce
November 15, 2005
ALEXANDRIA , La. – As disaster relief response caused by Hurricane Katrina lasts into its third month, Missouri Baptists are still working. While Missouri Baptists continue to volunteer, they have also given financially – more than $500,000 – to the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) disaster relief fund. David Clippard, MBC executive director, recently presented checks for $150,000 each to his counterparts in Mississippi and Louisiana.
“We didn’t want this money just sitting here in a bank,” he said, “we needed to get it to these two conventions where they know how best they can use it.”
Clippard said the two conventions were planning to use the gifts to help pay pastors’ salaries while the churches and communities affected by Katrina and the subsequent floods rebuild and regroup.
“The goal is that as people return, the churches will be up and running, ready to take their places in the community.
The remaining $200,000-plus will go towards maintenance and supplying of the MBC disaster relief units and in support of the convention’s partnership with the city of Chalmette, La. Clippard said some of the money, for example, helped a Missouri student of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary – which was badly damaged in the hurricane – to move his remaining belongings.
A city of about 40,000 people, Chalmette is just minutes east of New Orleans and is home to only two Baptist churches and one mission.
“It’s totally deserted,” Clippard said after he returned from Chalmette. “We need to get these churches and pastors stabilized as people are coming back in. If you’re looking for a place to get involved, Chalmette has a place for you.”
Meanwhile, the North American Mission Board is still encouraging congregations to participate in the Adopt-A-Church program.
First Baptist Church of Piedmont is just one Missouri Baptist church that has answered the call to help churches in need. The church took eight youth and six adults along with Bibles, children’s books, three tons of bleach, toiletries, towels, linens and clothes to Grace Memorial Baptist Church in Slidell, La. The church is planning to return to the town bordering Lake Pontchartrain this month.
The MBC disaster relief teams are still on duty in the Gulf Coast, despite near exhaustion of the volunteers and the volunteer lists. The southeast chainsaw unit has been redeployed to Louisiana and the state feeding unit is serving thousands of meals a day in Algiers, La.
Nationwide, there are still 365 Southern Baptist Disaster relief units preparing meals and helping with cleanup recovery efforts. They have served more than 10 million meals and have completed more than 15,000 jobs.