Archives For Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

The Briefing

SBDR Irma response to begin; Harvey relief work continues
Preparations are being made by the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania/South Jersey, New York and Virginia Baptist conventions to respond to the needs of hurricane survivors as Irma continued to crawl up Florida and into Georgia and S. Carolina. As of Sept. 11, Hurricane Harvey SBDR response has witnessed 29 professions of faith and initiated 508 Gospel conversations; provided 444,765 meals, 7,240 showers and 4,534 loads of laundry; and completed 109 construction jobs including 47 roof repairs.

Justice Dept. backs Christian baker
Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding has a major backer as his case heads to the US Supreme Court this fall: the Trump administration. The Department of Justice has sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, arguing that governments “may not … truncate the First Amendment by compelling a person to create a piece of artwork—particularly one that violates the artist’s conscience.”

Churches no longer face overtime pay increase
Just before Labor Day, a federal judge in Texas struck down a US Department of Labor (DOL) mandate that full-time, salaried workers—including church and parachurch staff—who earn up to $47,476 must be paid time-and-a-half for any overtime they work. This week, the Justice Department announced that it would not pursue the matter.

Tillerson decries ISIS genocide
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released the U.S. State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom Tuesday, highlighting the Islamic State as one of the biggest threats to liberty around the globe. “ISIS has and continues to target members of multiple religions and ethnicities for rape, kidnapping, enslavement, and death,” he wrote.

Senator criticized for religious questions
Senator Dianne Feinstein is coming under criticism from prominent academics and university leaders for her “chilling” line of questioning of a Roman Catholic judicial nominee last week during a Senate hearing.

Sources: Baptist Press, Christianity Today (2), World Magazine, Christianity Today

The ‘blue map’ tells our story

The blue mapThis map is becoming familiar around the Illinois Baptist State Association. We call it ‘the blue map.’ With just a few brush strokes, it clearly illustrates the need for evangelism in Illinois.

The map shows the percentage of people in each county who self-identify as Southern Baptist.

Our strength as a denomination is in the southern half of the state, where in most counties at least 5% of the population is SBC. In some places, the percentage is higher than that, but with so little of this map shaded dark blue, it’s easy to understand why Southern Baptists—and evangelicals overall—are in the minority in Illinois.

The farther north we travel, the less ‘Baptist’ the state is, even as the population explodes. The gray circles show our most populous places. And in stark contrast, the white and lightest blue-shaded counties show places where there are few or no SBC churches.

The need is great all across Illinois, but especially in the cities and Northwest Illinois.

“In many parts of Illinois, Baptists are outnumbered by Muslims, Mormons, eastern religions, and people with no faith at all,” Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association said. “In fact, at least 8-million of our 13-million neighbors in Illinois do not know Jesus Christ.”

That’s why at IBSA, we often say, “Evangelism is the point of the plow.” As a ministry-support and missions-sending organization, IBSA’s missionaries and staff are engaged in many activities that assist local Baptist churches in Illinois.

The partnership we share with almost 1,000 churches, mission congregations, and church plants is vital to strengthening Baptist work in Illinois. But whatever the ministry activity, the reason behind it is equipping IBSA churches, leaders, and members to share the gospel with people who do not yet know Jesus as their personal savior.

The missionaries whose photos appear in this prayer guide each have different specialties. Church planting, age-graded discipleship, and missions mobilization are just a few. But their work has the same chief purpose: advancing the gospel.

For example, when Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief teams are cutting trees felled by storms and digging out mud-packed houses after floods, somewhere nearby a trained DR chaplain is sharing Jesus with a suffering homeowner. And many times, they find Christ in their crisis.

Who trained the chaplains? Who organized the volunteers?

You did.

By giving through the Mission Illinois Offering, you enable state missionaries to do their work in Illinois. You provide supplies for VBS training and children’s camps. You send expertise to churches in need of stronger leadership. You recruit and equip church planters to start congregations where they are desperately need. And the list goes on and on.

Your gifts through the Mission Illinois Offering stay here in Illinois: teaching students, equipping leaders, planting churches, and, at all times, advancing the gospel.

Won’t you give through the Mission Illinois Offering? Your partnership in advancing the gospel in Illinois is needed now, more than ever.

Learn more about the Mission Illinois Offering.

The Briefing

Trump meets with SBC’s Ezell, other relief leaders
President Donald Trump met with leaders of the three largest disaster relief organizations in the United States at the White House Sept. 1 to discuss relief efforts in south Texas in the wake of historic flooding and other damage left by Hurricane Harvey. Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB), represented Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) at the 25-minute private meeting in the Oval Office with the president and First Lady Melania Trump.

Nashville Statement signers stand for marriage
Signers of the Nashville Statement, a declaration affirming Biblical teaching on human sexuality, defended their position from other Christian and secular opponents this week. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) released the statement online Aug.29. The initial 150 evangelical leaders who signed it asserted the church needed clarity amid widespread confusion about a Biblical understanding of sex, sexuality, and morality.

Ministry sues over ‘hate group’ label
One Christian ministry has apparently had enough of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s disparaging “hate group” characterization. D. James Kennedy Ministries filed a lawsuit in an Alabama federal court alleging the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) “trafficked in false and misleading descriptions” of the ministry and that other entities also named in the suit perpetuated the libel.

H.S. coach loses prayer case
A federal court has ruled that a Washington state high school football coach violated the U.S. Constitution by taking a knee at the 50-yard line and praying after games. Joe Kennedy lost his job as an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in 2015 after the school district suspended him for his post-game prayers. Kennedy sued and accused the school of violating his free speech. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the district’s suspension was justified.

Most churched (& unchurched) cities in America
For six of the last seven years, the American Bible Society has named Chattanooga, Tenn., the nation’s most Bible-minded city. This year, it was the only American city where at least half the population was classified as Bible-minded. Almost 6 in 10 residents (59%) are regular churchgoers. Overall, almost 4 in 10 Americans (38%) are active churchgoers who have attended a service in the past seven days.

Sources: Baptist Press, World Magazine, Baptist Press, Fox News, Facts & Trends

Harvey-National-Guard-rescue

Texas National Guard soldiers rescue residents in heavily flooded areas of Houston after Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 27. National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

Trained disaster relief volunteers representing the Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA) are preparing to respond to victims Hurricane Harvey. Disaster Relief volunteers are taking kitchen trailers where they can prepare between 10,000-20,000 meals a day to the Houston area.

Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief State Director Dwayne Doyle said, “While the rain is still falling, we are preparing to go, both for immediate response and to provide long term assistance to flood victims. The immediate needs for people in shelters are food service and child care. Southern Baptists prepare the meals that other national relief agencies distribute.”

Two teams of child care workers departed for Dallas Wednesday (Aug. 30) to care for children in shelters, which allows parents to work with FEMA and other agencies. “We provide the service so parents can work on getting their lives back together,” Doyle said.

Southern Baptists’ response to this unparalleled disaster will continue for months, perhaps years. “We have three central Illinois training sessions planned and we are arranging training sessions in Chicagoland and southern Illinois for volunteers who will stay long term and assist flood victims,” shared Doyle.

Illinois Baptists have 1,600 trained disaster relief volunteers belonging to 37 teams based around the state. The teams include mobile kitchen, child care, chaplaincy, chainsaw, flood recovery, laundry and shower units along with a disaster relief command and communications trailer, and a search and rescue unit. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is the third largest relief agency in the United States.

To learn more about disaster relief training opportunities, visit www.IBSA.org/DR.

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If you’d like more information or to schedule a phone or radio interview, contact: Lisa Sergent at (217) 391-3119 or LisaSergent@IBSA.org. Later, we should be able to provide onsite interviews with leaders in various parts of the state and a list of departure times for volunteer relief teams heading to Texas.

The Illinois Baptist State Association is comprised of nearly 1,000 member churches and 35 local associations. Headquartered in Springfield, it is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Fulkerson and Porter group photo web

Disaster Relief volunteers Bob Fulkerson and his wife Margie (left) and Butch and Debbie Porter (right) rest for a moment during a call out a few years ago in New York. Fulkerson passed away Tuesday, March 29 while serving on a call out in Leesville, La. Both couples are members of First Baptist Church of Galatia, Ill. Photo courtesy Butch and Debbie Porter.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) volunteer Don Fulkerson, who died of a heart attack Tuesday, March 29, while serving flood victims in Leesville, Louisiana. Fulkerson, 77, was with a group of trained DR workers from First Baptist Church of Galatia, IL, and volunteers from other Illinois Baptist churches.

Visitation will take place Friday, April 1 from 6-9 p.m.  and Saturday, April 2 from 9-11 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Galatia, 108 E. Church St., Galatia, IL 62935. His funeral will be Saturday, April 2 at 11 a.m. also at First Baptist Church of Galatia. Fulkerson was a member of the church.

Rex Alexander, Disaster Relief coordinator for the Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA), suggested DR volunteers attending the funeral, “wear your yellow shirts in honor of Don’s faithful service to the Lord through Disaster Relief Ministry.” Southern Baptist DR volunteers are easily identified at disaster recovery scenes by the bright yellow shirts they wear.

“The callout to Louisiana was Don’s 15th response over a period of only four years and his wife, Margie, was almost always by his side serving whenever the opportunity arose,” shared Alexander. “Their faithful service to Christ brought great joy to both of them as they served side by side in the ministry of Disaster Relief.”

Cards of condolence may be mailed to his widow Margie Fulkerson, P.O. Box 5, Galatia, IL 62935.

The DR team from First Baptist Church of Galatia were first responders in what is expected to be a series of callouts to aid victims of spring floods in Louisiana. IIBSA teams will serve alongside teams from around the country.

IBSA has 1,600 trained volunteers who serve as part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief ministry (SBDR), the third largest relief agency in the United States. Disaster Relief often responds to natural disasters by providing feeding stations, mobile kitchens, child care, and chaplains. In the case of flooding, volunteers in their signature yellow shirts help homeowners with “mudout,” clearing flooded properties of debris and contaminated building materials, so they can begin rebuilding and recovery.

Don Fulkerson

Don Fulkerson

Leesville, Louisiana | A volunteer with a Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) team from Illinois died of a heart attack Tuesday, March 29, while serving flood victims in Leesville, Louisiana. Don Fulkerson, 77, was a member of First Baptist Church of Galatia, Illinois. He was serving with a group of trained relief workers from the church and others from churches around Illinois.

“The callout to Louisiana was Don’s 15th response over a period of only four years and his wife, Margie, was almost always by his side serving whenever the opportunity arose,” said Rex Alexander, Disaster Relief coordinator for the Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA). “Their faithful service to Christ brought great joy to both of them as they served side by side in the ministry of Disaster Relief,” Alexander said.

The DR team from First Baptist Church of Galatia were first responders in what is expected to be a series of callouts to aid victims of spring floods in Louisiana. Illinois teams will serve alongside teams from around the country.

“Our Illinois Baptist family certainly grieves with and is in prayer for the Fulkerson family, and the entire church family at First Baptist in Galatia,” said IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams. “We appreciate so much Don’s and Margie’s service, along with so many other devoted disaster relief volunteers, and we are confident that Don’s life and sacrifice will bring eternal rewards, both to him and to the lives he touched.”

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) coordinates Southern Baptist Disaster Relief on the national level. NAMB president and former Illinois Baptist pastor Kevin Ezell extended his condolences to the family of Fulkerson as they mourn his passing. “Don is a great example of someone who chose to stay active into his later years and to contribute in a way that truly made a difference in the lives of others,” said Ezell. “I pray that his wife Margie and his entire family will feel God’s love and comfort during these days and that they will also be aware of the gratitude and appreciation for them from their entire Southern Baptist family.”

IBSA has 1,600 trained volunteers who serve as part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief ministry (SBDR), the third largest relief agency in the United States. Disaster Relief often responds to natural disasters by providing feeding stations, mobile kitchens, child care, and chaplains. In the case of flooding, volunteers in their signature yellow shirts  help homeowners with “mudout,” clearing flooded properties of debris and contaminated building materials, so they can begin rebuilding and recovery.

Contact:
Illinois Baptist State Association
Lisa Sergent, Director of Communications
3085 Stevenson Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62703
LisaSergent@IBSA.org
(217) 391-3119

 

Teddy bears will find their way to children who survived the EF5 tornado that devastated part of Moore, Okla., May 20.  Photo by John Swain, North American Mission Board

Teddy bears will find their way to children who survived the EF5 tornado that devastated part of Moore, Okla., May 20.
Photo by John Swain, North American Mission Board

NEWS | Joe Conway, North American Mission Board

Within hours of the deadly EF5 tornado striking Moore, Okla., Southern Baptist Disaster Relief chaplains were ministering to families at both elementary schools destroyed by the storm. Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Disaster Relief Director Sam Porter said response needs will continue for weeks.

“Paul Bettis is leading our chaplain team,” said Porter. “They were on the ground at the schools with the families as they were searching for their children. Paul was involved in several official notification visits, as well.”

Porter said security in the affected area remains tight, but feeding and laundry units are already serving. As of lunch on Wednesday, Oklahoma SBDR volunteers had already prepared more than 9,100 meals and made 269 ministry contacts. Oklahoma SBDR has 105 volunteers engaged.

“We will need clean up assistance for four to five weeks at a minimum,” said Porter. “Because of the nature of the storms there will not be a lot of chainsaw work, but the debris clean up will be big.”

Fritz Wilson, executive director for Disaster Relief at the North American Mission Board said a multi-state response is expected in support of Oklahoma SBDR efforts. Wilson said he expects to see crews working in the affected areas this weekend.

“Our prayers are certainly with the people of Moore, and all of the affected areas,” said NAMB president Kevin Ezell. “Oklahoma Baptists have one of the best disaster relief teams in North America.”

Wilson asked Southern Baptists to continue to pray for survivors and volunteers, and to give to the efforts to help sustain the ministry. He also asked Southern Baptists to remember the SBDR volunteers and the survivors they are serving in other parts of Oklahoma, in Texas and in Missouri, all as a result of the two days of storms, May 19 and 20.

“The prayers, support and concern of Southern Baptists has been overwhelming,” said Porter. “Don’t stop praying.”

To donate to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts in Oklahoma, go to NAMB.net.

Joe Conway writes for the North American Mission Board.