Baptists among forces helping Philippines

The Baptist World Alliance, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and American Baptist Churches USA are just a few of the organizations urging members to pray and give generously to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. 

By Jeff Brumley

Baptists and other religious groups are kicking into high gear with financial and material aid in response to Typhoon Haiyan, which tore through the central Philippines on Friday, killing an estimated 10,000 and destroying entire towns and villages.

Several governmental and non-governmental aid organizations also are responding, ranging from the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders to Save the Children and the United Nations Childrens’ Fund.

The Baptist World Alliance issued a release today asking its member churches around the globe “to make generous and urgent contributions” to assist the typhoon victims. Locally, the storm is being called Typhoon Yolanda.

To underscore the urgency of the need, BWA shared news from member Gerlie Baltero of the Luzon Convention of Southern Baptist Churches in the Philippines. Baltero reported seeing “bodies lying in the streets” and that “people have lost their homes, their work, and some of their loved ones.”

Baltero also reported that “many are in need of food, water and medicine” in a number of Philippine provinces.

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The Luzon convention is one of five BWA member organizations in the Philippines that total 430,000 in membership.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced Friday a $2,500 donation to Conscience International, a CBF partner that is already on the ground in the Philippines. The money was to be used to help distribute drinking water to typhoon victims.

CBF added a request that Fellowship Baptists make financial contributions as soon as possible to help begin and continue the flow of aid to beleaguered Filipinos and foreigners who are trapped there.

Also joining CBF in calling for action was American Baptist Churches USA.

“Pray for all those who have been drastically affected,” the leaders of the denomination said on their website. They added a call for contributions so that help can be sent “at this time.”