ABHMS awards OGHS grants to various ministries

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/8/16)—On behalf of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has awarded $125,000 total in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) grants to various ministries throughout the United States.

The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM), Groton
A $20,000 one-time OGHS Domestic Development Grant was awarded to construct and furnish a new building—to be named Prescott Lodge—at Grotonwood, TABCOM’s camp and conference center. Grotonwood’s Memorial Lodge was destroyed by fire in 2015. Prescott Lodge will welcome traditional-aged youth campers in the summer and at various retreats during the year. It will also serve as a sacred, renewing space for adults with disabilities, veterans recovering from PTSD, other individuals recovering from trauma, first responders, survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, refugees, young adults discerning ministry calls, newly endorsed and seasoned missionaries, and retired ministers and teachers. Given the wide variety of campers, each room requires a private bathroom as well as furniture that is durable, bed bug resistant, accessible and environmentally friendly. The conference room will include state-of-the-art technology.

Bethel Neighborhood Center, Kansas City, Kan.
A $65,000 OGHS Domestic Development Grant was awarded to expand ESL/citizenship classes as well as the food assistance, community garden and Healthy Lifestyles programs. This multi-year grant will be distributed as $30,000, $20,000 and $15,000. Funds will allow three ESL/citizenship classes of at least 25 students to be conducted regularly by full-time, paid staff who employ an established curriculum. The food pantry will establish a regular supply of culturally appropriate foods that are often cost-prohibitive and unavailable when needed. Important to immigrants, the community garden requires seeds, water, fertilizer, ground preparation and tools to increase produce. The Healthy Lifestyles program will be expanded to include transportation, interpretation, basic health education, cooking and sanitation.

Lower 9 Resilient, New Orleans
A $15,000 one-time OGHS Domestic Development Grant will be used to help the new Lower 9 Resilient organization in rebuilding Lower 9th Ward neighborhoods still struggling from 2005’s hurricanes Rita and Katrina. In April 2016, when the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development ceased its efforts to provide disaster recovery, the organization’s volunteer coordinator founded the Lower 9 Resilient. Funding will help to stabilize the organization over the next two years, allowing for a full-time director, two support staff members, appropriate vehicles, supplies and materials to complete the reorganization of the volunteerism effort and to grow the organization’s capacity. Volunteers will work on housing construction, cleanup and food capacity as well as coastal and wetlands sustainability. (Photo above: Houses in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward.)

Murrow Indian Children’s Home, Muskogee, Okla.
A $15,000 one-time OGHS Special Grant expresses American Baptist solidarity with the home, which recently endured verbal attacks from a neighboring organization. Founded by an American Baptist, the home has been providing care to Native American children with support from ABHMS and its predecessor organizations for decades. A nonprofit residential facility, Murrow provides out-of-home placement to Native American children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Licensed by the state of Oklahoma, the facility can house 36 children: 30 in the custody of any of the state’s tribes and six in state custody. Murrow provides physical, emotional, educational and spiritual support in a safe and nurturing environment. The home is instituting a program to prepare residents for eventual transition out of the home to independent living as well as to help those who have already aged out of the home.

South Providence (R.I.) Neighborhood Ministries
A $10,000 OGHS Feeding and Shelter Grant will allow the organization to continue to provide emergency food as well as rent/mortgage and utility assistance to low-income families with children, the elderly and disabled individuals. Clients are welcome to weekly visits to the food pantry, the second largest in Rhode Island. Last year, the organization distributed 514,781 pounds of food to 7,602 families (42,642 individuals). The full-time program coordinator and Spanish-speaking program assistant meet privately with each household to establish a rapport and to help clients think beyond crises to focus on avoiding similar emergencies. Direct services staff help clients succeed emotionally as well as economically, providing information and referral services to adult education programs, health care services and children’s after-school and summer programs.

OGHS is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries, ABCUSA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual OGHS offering. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists in answering God’s call to promote Christian faith across the United States and Puerto Rico to cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and heal and transform communities, by developing aligned action networks and programs.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.