October 30, 2014
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is partnering with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) to address the Ebola crisis in Liberia and other West Africa countries, providing emergency support for food, medicines, medical equipment, educational materials, prevention training and sanitation supplies to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
CBF is announcing today that it has created an Ebola Response Fund to encourage Cooperative Baptists to support the Fellowship’s response to this global crisis. Gifts can be made to the fund at www.thefellowship.info/ebola.
CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter emphasized the importance of linking arms and supporting Baptists in West Africa, including the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC) and its president, Olu Menjay, who is a graduate of Mercer University. Additionally, CBF-endorsed chaplain Col. Charles Reynolds is serving in Liberia as Senior Chaplain for US Army Africa — the command that is coordinating the military’s Ebola response operation.
“There is heartfelt compassion and connection for many in CBF — students, leaders and churches — to Liberia, Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary and the Baptist union led by Dr. Olu Menjay,” Paynter said. “It is a privilege to give and, in a small way, join all those who are truly being the presence of Christ in West Africa.”
The Ebola virus has killed more than 5,000 people. A total of 9,936 cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in five affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States) and two previously affected countries (Nigeria and Senegal) as of October 19, according to the World Health Organization. Liberia remains the country worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, with 47 percent of all reported cases (4,605) and 55 percent of all deaths (2,705).
In August, CBF contributed $5,000 to the BWA’s initial effort to provide food, educational materials and sanitation supplies to 100 pastors and 100 communities across Liberia associated with the country’s Baptist churches and institutions. Since the outbreak began, many government offices were forced to close to prevent the virus from spreading. A 90-day state of emergency was declared on August 6 by Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, ordering that all schools close, including the Baptist-affiliated Ricks Institute, Lott Carey Mission School and the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary.
CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter emphasized the need and responsibility to extend healing to those affected by the crisis.
“While the scale of the Ebola crisis in West Africa makes any response feel inadequate, we must remember that healing and the multiplication of humble gifts were central to Jesus’ public ministry, and as his disciples, we are called to follow suit,” Porter said. “With longstanding Baptist partners on the ground, especially in Liberia, we have a concrete opportunity to extend the healing ministry of Jesus in our world today.”
Donations to support CBF’s Ebola Response Fund may be made online at www.thefellowship.info/ebola, or by mailing a check payable to “CBF” with Acct. 17028 in the memo line to:
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
P.O. Box 102972
Atlanta, GA 30368-2972
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.