American Baptists respond to damage at Bacone College

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/27/16)—In response to damage caused by torrential rain, gale-force winds and severe flooding in Oklahoma during the Christmas holiday season, American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Disaster Relief Office has distributed a $20,000 Emergency Grant from American Baptist Churches USA One Great Hour of Sharing funds to Bacone College, Muskogee, Okla.

Areas of the college damaged are the historic memorial chapel, including the steeple and a stained-glass window; the 95-year-old Samuel Richard Memorial Hall; administrative offices; classrooms; and dormitories. Because employees and students were offsite for holiday break, the damage was not immediately discovered, resulting in mold.

“Winds ripped the roof off of the college’s historical Samuel Richard Memorial Hall and damaged the steeple of Bacone College Memorial Chapel, allowing 8 inches of rain to cascade down four flights of stairs into our classrooms and administrative areas,” says Dr. Leroy W. Thompson, Bacone’s vice president of Christian Ministry and assistant professor of religion.

“Pieces of the interior walls of the steeple were washed away, and mold is running down the walls.”

Beyond Bacone, a recently constructed residential addition at Murrow Indian Children’s Home, Muskogee, suffered water approximately 1-inch deep

“Water rolled through the whole apartment,” says Betty Martin, the home’s director. “Fortunately, the floors aren’t carpeted.”

One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches. Learn more at

Donations designated to “One Great Hour of Sharing—Oklahoma Flooding” can be mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.

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.