Ministry to provide support for earthquake response
by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE – As rescue crews continue to dig for survivors in the latest earthquake in Mexico, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is connecting with ecumenical partners to support recovery efforts and assist in developing long-term response plans. Tuesday’s quake, which registered 7.1 on the Richter Scale, was the second to strike the region in less than two weeks, causing buildings and houses to collapse, killing or trapping hundreds.
“We are able to respond through our ecumenical partnerships, so we will be sending $25,000 for earthquake response,” said the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, PDA director. “PDA cherishes the opportunity to work through our ecumenical partners, but we also want to walk alongside Presbyterian partners in the region, especially when they express the desire to build their own capacity to help in these types of disasters.”
On Wednesday, Kraus and other Presbyterian Mission Agency leaders met with representatives from the Mexican Communion of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches. The meeting at the mission agency’s national office in Louisville, Kentucky was scheduled prior to the quakes.
“They expressed their intention to be active and vital participants in ecumenical recovery. There are church members being served by pastors in this communion who are missing from the earthquake. Church members and pastors are also working now to dig out their neighbors,” said Kraus. “We had an opportunity to pray with them for strength for those who are still trying to dig out from the rubble. We prayed for comfort for those who have lost family members. We prayed for strength, wisdom and clarity as they begin to develop a unified disaster response in the Mexico City area.”
Kraus says they discussed the communion’s desire to build its own capacity for disaster training and the ability to do large-scale responses alongside partners.
“As we sat together, we talked about the 10 churches and 12 pastors in the communion and their relationships with other protestant colleges and seminaries throughout the region,” said Kraus. “It was a light in the midst of shadows to be able to have this conversation with people who are personally impacted and have a deep passion and desire to collaborate ecumenically.”
Kraus says PDA will provide a $10,000 solidarity grant to the communion and will welcome further grant requests from the group.
In the meantime, PDA has reached out to partners Church World Service (CWS) and the ACT Alliance to assist in the recovery effort.
“Luke Asikoye, PDA’s associate for international disaster response, will coordinate with CWS and the ACT Alliance Latin America office to connect with partners,” she said. “We will help build an infrastructure to support what they are already doing.”
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the emergency response and refugee program of the denomination, committed to the long-term journey of recovery of communities adversely affected by a crisis or catastrophic event. It is funded by the One Great Hour of Sharing and raises designated funds for responding to specific disasters.
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