By Carl Stagner
UPDATE, as of September 10: Church of God Ministries has reached out to a partner on the ground in New Providence, Bahamas in order to support relief efforts. As many are displaced from their homes, this ministry is ready to provide immediate relief to victims through food, water, and emergency shelter. Will you join us?
ORIGINAL article, September 5: As a Category Five storm, Hurricane Dorian reached the Bahamas on Monday night, bringing with it 185-mile-per-hour winds and torrential rainfall. Though Dorian weakened to a Category Two hurricane on Tuesday, it proved no less a monster for the residents of the Caribbean country. At times, the nearly stationary hurricane moved laterally at only one mile per hour, offering little relief to the hardest-hit areas. Storm surge and rising floodwaters claimed multiple lives and forced homeowners to upper floors, trapping some on rooftops. Regaining strength over the Atlantic, Hurricane Dorian is forecast to approach South Carolina through the day on Thursday before moving on or near the North Carolina coast. Meanwhile, as the hearts of people around the world break for the people of the Bahamas, Church of God Ministries has issued an update on disaster relief.
When Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, Church of God Ministries was ready. Because of the ongoing generous donations of churches, pastors, and individual laypersons, Church of God Ministries was positioned to respond swiftly when disaster struck the US territory. In light of the darkness Dorian has left in the Bahamas, Mary Ann Martinez, of Puerto Rico Church of God Ministries, says, “As Hurricane Dorian impacts the Bahamas and approaches the US coast, here in Puerto Rico we are constantly praying for our brothers and sisters. Sadly, we know firsthand the devastation that a hurricane this fierce can bring. The Church of God in Puerto Rico has been blessed by [Church of God Disaster Relief] and we know the positive impact and support it can bring. Though our resources are limited, we want to do our small part in helping the people affected.”
Church of God congregations like Solid Rock Community in Kissimmee, Florida, are already preparing to respond to Dorian’s effects on the Bahamas. They’ve also been in touch with sister churches in the Bahamas and are continually learning more about the dire situation. Solid Rock also reports that some in the congregation have family members in the Bahamas. Church of God Ministries is blessed by congregations like Solid Rock and their commitment to swift and holistic disaster relief.
What We Can Do
Bishop Timothy Clarke, chair of the General Assembly of the Church of God, is asking his church to set aside the fourth Sunday of September as a day of giving to support disaster relief in the Bahamas. Church of God Ministries is echoing this refrain as we encourage all Church of God congregations to consider a disaster relief offering on Sunday, September 22. The Church of God in the Caribbean, the people of the Bahamas, the first-responders, and future disaster relief work teams all need the prayers of the Movement. Donations can be made at https://give.jesusisthesubject.org/default.aspx?tsid=8168&fund=188971.
In crises where an immediate response is critical for relief, Church of God Ministries advances funds in anticipation of a gracious outpouring of donations from churches and individuals. Such advances are made from a limited Disaster Relief Fund maintained by Church of God Ministries for emergency response to disaster. Disaster Relief contributions are utilized to bring relief to those affected by disasters worldwide. Give now at https://give.jesusisthesubject.org/default.aspx?tsid=8168&fund=188971. Donations can also be mailed to Church of God Ministries, PO Box 2420, Anderson, IN 46018; please note that your gift is for Disaster Relief, Project #45.04502. Learn more about Church of God Disaster Relief at https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief/. Thank you!