Brethren Disaster Ministries sends support for Japan response

An initial grant of $25,000 from the Church of the Brethren's Emergency Disaster Fund is being sent to Church World Service and local partners to help in the tsunami response.

ELGIN, IL | March 26, 2011

An initial grant of $25,000 from the Church of the Brethren's Emergency Disaster Fund is being given in support of disaster relief work in Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the island nation.

The grant will support work by Church World Service (CWS) and local partner organizations.

The church's Mission and Ministry Board issued a call to prayer for the people of Japan and all those affected by the disaster, on March 12 during the board's spring meeting. The full prayer and scripture reference follow at the bottom of this release.

"This is a very unusual situation," reported Brethren Disaster Ministries executive director Roy Winter, who has been in meetings with CWS and ecumenical partners about the situation in Japan. "Usually Brethren Disaster Ministries does not respond to an international disaster in such a developed country," he said, "but the complexity and extent of this disaster simply demands we respond when the need is so great. The Japanese government is clearly leading the response effort, but our help is needed to meet the extensive need of so many who have lost so much."

The grant responds to an appeal from CWS, and will help provide emergency relief supplies at evacuation sites where basic needs of food, water, sanitation, electricity, and fuel are not being met.

Also, Gift of the Heart Hygiene Kits are being sent to Japan from warehouses in region. "These warehouses will be resupplied from the Brethren Service Center" in New Windsor, Md., Winter reported. He highlighted this as a key part of the response for the Brethren.

Go to the Church World Service Website for information about the hygiene kits, which provide disaster survivors with simple but essential self-care items such as soap, towels, toothbrush, toothpaste, and more.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) currently has two volunteers serving in Japan. Ron and Barb Siney from southern Ohio are directors at the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, which is in an area less affected by the disaster. They will complete their two-year term in mid-May.

The Asian Rural Institute is a new BVS project site in the north of the country, some 80 miles from the damaged nuclear plants. The institute "did experience structural damage to some of their buildings," said McFadden, who clarified that "we do not have a BVSer there yet" because the institute just this year became a project site for BVS.

The institute also is a grant recipient from the church's Global Food Crisis Fund, which earlier this year designated $3,000 for its work.

A Call to Prayer for Japan issued by the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board

March 12, 2011

As we meet, the Mission and Ministry Board calls the whole church to pause and remember the Japanese people in prayer, and all who have been affected. They are living through the horrific tragedy of an earthquake, then tsunami, and the resulting technological disasters that compound the loss of so many lives and so many homes.

Merciful Lord, in their hour of anguish, hear and answer the cries of the Japanese people. Hear our prayers as our tears exclaim our compassion for all people who suffer. May your love, grace, and compassion bring a sense of comfort for those who mourn. Be with the many who work to bring relief, food, water, and shelter to those in need. And gracious God especially touch those mourning the loss of loved ones.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.... The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" (Psalm 46:1-3, 11).

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in community. The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts some 123,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India.

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For more information contact:

Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Director of News Services

Church of the Brethren

1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120

800-323-8039 ext. 260

[email protected]

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Related Links:

Information About Church World Service Hygiene Kits

Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund


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