We recognize that the task before us is to bring God’s intended wholeness to disaster survivors in order that they may be strengthened and encouraged for the task of rebuilding their communities and livelihoods. We hold before us God’s vision of Shalom ... We also recognize that we do not work alone. The task before us is greater than a single organization or program. It requires commitment to and support of the local community, and cooperation with ecumenical and interfaith councils and agencies that are working in the area. Most importantly for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the commitment is to strengthen as much as possible the local church and/or council. Many people and organizations come and go during the course of disaster response and recovery, but it is the local church that can become the enduring witness and reminder that love and support was found, help given, and wounds bound up. Therefore, we commit ourselves to equip Presbyterians worldwide to effectively and efficiently serve disaster survivors in Christ’s name so that out of the chaos of disaster they will find hope.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will seek to develop platforms of excellence in its ministry. Specific attention will be given to further developing and strengthening the area of pastoral care and psychosocial services in times of disaster and community violence. We will seek to strengthen and expand our work with children and also our assistance to partners in post disaster reconstruction work, where we will develop solid models and training for U.S.- based work teams. We seek to be known as the General Assembly program that achieves excellence in serving congregations and individuals as they seek to be engaged personally, corporately, and financially in supporting mission and ministry whether that mission be in Houston, Texas; Usalatan, El Salvador; or Xai Xai, Mozambique.
For many years, PDA has contributed significant financial support to disaster response in many countries. Given the staff size, few relationships were built in the process. Therefore, in the period of this strategic plan PDA will seek to consolidate its international work focusing on a group of countries and key ecumenical institutions and councils in order to build relationships that provide much expanded opportunities of service and witness for Presbyterians. In addition, consolidating the work will provide greater support and capacity-building to those partners. During this process, PDA will continue to respond to disasters throughout the world through ecumenical channels.
Over the past several years, the position and work of Church World Service and Witness (CWSW) has weakened resulting in the loss of public recognition and significant reduction in U.S. government funds. Because Presbyterian Disaster Assistance sees Church World Service as key partner, specific attention will be given to strengthening this relationship and common work. We will seek to use our influence to rebuild CWSW, knowing that a healthy CWSW is essential to our own ministry.
Where possible, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will integrate international work with the International Health Ministries Office in order to be faithful stewards over limited resources and personnel, and in order to incorporate public health issues into its disaster response efforts and training.
We recognize that ACT (Action by Churches Together) will continue to be the primary coordinating mechanism for international ecumenical disaster response. With that in mind, it will be of central importance for us to help our partner churches and councils to understand and appreciate the ACT mechanism, and wherever possible participate in and support ACT responses. Where there is capacity and interest, PDA will work to strengthen the partner enabling them to provide leadership to ACT disaster responses.
We will consolidate our work to strengthen our ministry with a focus on building relationships and capacity. We recognize that we cannot be all things to all people and have an effective ministry, therefore we invite Presbyterians to trust in and support this vision whose purpose is to continue to build and expand the scope of disaster ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Adopted by the PDA Advisory Committee, Fall 2001