On Wednesday evening, CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley issued the following call to prayer via social media:
“Tonight, I ask you to join me in praying for all those who are in the path of Hurricane Laura. As I write, the storm is approaching category five strength and communities across Louisiana and extending into Texas are in significant risk as the storm approaches the Gulf Coast. Tonight and Thursday will bring devastating winds and catastrophic storm surge wherever the storm makes landfall. Right now our most significant opportunity of faith is to pray for people, communities and congregations who will experience the worst of the storm. After the storm passes, our CBF Disaster Response team will work with CBF state leaders in Louisiana and Texas, congregational leaders and others to determine the best ways for us to offer support. But tonight, we are called to pray for those who face devastating winds, ravaging waters and destruction of property, that just as Christ was with his disciples in the midst of a storm, Christ will be present now.” –CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley
Please join CBF in continuing to pray today, Thursday, and Hurricane Laura continues its devastating path. Please also give generously to support CBF Disaster Response’s forthcoming relief efforts. You may do so here. We will continue to provide response updates with specific ways you can pray, serve and give as that information becomes available.
By Rick Burnette
For days, we have been watching the track of two tropical systems, Marco and Laura, both taking aim at the upper Gulf Coast with Laura gaining major hurricane status.
Meanwhile, the world continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two storms are only the latest among three consecutive years of destructive storm systems, including Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, Michael, Dorian and Hanna. These events resulted in considerable Cooperative Baptist Fellowship involvement in recovery communities stretching from the Rio Grande Valley to southeastern North Carolina, the Panhandle of Florida, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
The good news is that with CBF Disaster Response recruitment, hundreds of volunteers from CBF churches and other organizations have engaged in recovery efforts benefiting affected households and congregations in scores of locations.
However, CBF Disaster Response is in great need of financial support during this 2020 hurricane season.
Obviously, the pandemic forms a dangerous backdrop for our upcoming disaster response decisions and actions, resulting in the following response realities:
- To prevent the spread of the virus, we do not expect or encourage volunteer teams to travel from distant locations to engage. If we do engage in long-term recovery efforts this year, less distant volunteers (e.g., those less than 1-2 hours away) will be vital. To keep everyone as safe as possible, guidelines for disaster response during the COVID-19 pandemic have been developed and are accessible via this link.
- Because past CBF volunteer teams have tended to fund their own efforts, such as purchasing building materials needed for recovery tasks, fewer volunteers during the pandemic will mean less volunteer-generated funding of recovery efforts.
As we expect less volunteer-generated funding of recovery efforts, how will we meet these challenges?
By the generosity of the CBF network.
We are asking congregations, families, and individuals to give generously as we continue to purchase tools, equipment, and building materials in addition to covering the cost of coordinating these efforts.
With your help, we will remain in position to carry out concentrated and well-coordinated disaster response efforts throughout 2020 and beyond.