Time To Serve: Disciples Volunteering Offers Opportunities for 2012

Disciples Volunteering organized work groups at the 2011 General Assembly in Nashville, TN.

Josh Baird serves as Director of Disciples Volunteering. Week of Compassion and Disciples Volunteering work in partnership to help Disciples respond to needs in communities recovering from disasters. Josh offers this update on three opportunities for mission in 2012.

Disciples Volunteering, in partnership with Week of Compassion, local congregations and their Regional or Area ministries, is currently seeking Mission Teams for 2012. As a ministry based on partnership and serving side-by-side with others, Disciples Volunteering develops relationships with community-based Long Term Recovery Committees and other local partners, supports local decisions, and organizes volunteers to assist in the recovery for as long as we can be of service. Disciples Volunteering is in the midst of planning mission opportunities in three communities recovering from disaster, and invites you to explore ways you can volunteer with us in the upcoming year.

Tuscaloosa, AL was among the numerous communities hit by a tornado in late April of this year. The record-breaking outbreak wrought devastation across the south. Disciples are coordinating their response through First Christian Church, Tuscaloosa and Cottondale Christian Church. Mission Teams are needed through much of 2012 to rebuild homes, build relationships, and be present as signs of hope in a community in need of rebuilding. Tuscaloosa is also the location for Disciples Volunteering’s Alternative Spring Break, Feb. 26 – Mar. 31. The recovery in Tuscaloosa is only just beginning. With a steady stream of Mission Teams, Disciples have the opportunity to make a lasting impact in the area.

Communities along the Gulf Coast continue to recover from the hurricanes of 2005 and 2008. First Christian Church, Slidell, LA, is hosting Mission Teams for work in communities north and east of New Orleans. Through First Christian, teams are matched with Northshore Disaster Recovery, an ecumenical recovery group that has rebuilt nearly 13,000 homes since late 2005. Meanwhile, First Christian Church, Lake Charles, LA, offers the only fully operational recovery center in its parish and serves communities across southwest Louisiana. Because so many other recovery groups have closed their doors in the parish, First Christian has inherited enough open cases of people seeking assistance to keep the recovery going for several more years.

Disciples volunteers hard at work

Disciples are also working behind the scenes and on the front lines in Joplin, MO, to prepare space and opportunities to help with the community’s rebuilding effort. When all of the pieces fall into place, Disciples Volunteering and Week of Compassion will extend the call to come and stand with the people of Joplin, serving as help is needed in their long-term recovery.
For information on any of these opportunities to serve, please visit Disciples Volunteering on the web, email Brenda Tyler or Josh Baird, or call the Disciples Volunteering office at 1-888-346-2631.

Just a Few More Days to Submit Proposals!

You are invited to submit a Presentation Proposal for the 2012 Church World Service Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry. The theme for 2012 is, “Sacred Hospitality: Compassion and Community in the Wake of Disaster." This theme grows out of the need for the faith-based community to adapt its work in the midst of economic and social change to meet humanitarian needs caused by disasters while maintaining CWS's traditional mission of serving the most vulnerable while practicing good stewardship.

Topical themes for the presentations and workshops include:

  • Hospitality in Disaster Care: Integrating Effective Spiritual and Emotional Care Practices
  • Hospitality in Stewardship: God's Generosity, Human Response and Advocacy
  • Hospitality in Shared Response and Recovery: Make New Friends and Keep the Old

Each subdivision will explore the changing nature of response to natural, technological and human caused disasters by tapping the collective yet diverse experience of our participants. This process will identify issues affecting disaster ministry in the future and suggest forward thinking yet practical responses to human needs.

If your application is accepted, Church World Service will pay your forum conference fee, meals and lodging.

We kindly ask that you return the completed downloadable Presentation Proposal by November 21, 2011 to Barry Shade, Church World Service Emergency Response Program at bshade@churchworldservice.org. If you have questions, you may also call (361) 389-0402.