American Baptists respond to water crisis in Flint

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/19/16)—In response to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Disaster Relief Office has distributed a $2,500 Emergency Grant from American Baptist Churches USA One Great Hour of Sharing funds to American Baptist Churches of Michigan. The region will forward funds to Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Flint, which is coordinating American Baptist relief efforts in the city.

Both the state and federal governments have declared a state of emergency in the city because its drinking water is contaminated with lead, rendering it unsuitable for drinking, cooking and bathing.

“While there are certainly justice and advocacy dimensions to the crisis in Flint, ABHMS is pleased to make this first installment on behalf of American Baptists in responding to the immediate human need for clean water,” says Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director. “And we urge our American Baptist family to continue your generosity, which makes such gifts possible.”

Mount Olive has been providing Flint residents with bottled water. In partnership with the health department and YMCA, Mount Olive will host a Family Fun Fair on Feb. 25, at which children’s lead levels can be tested.

“This grant will allow us to be the hands and feet for Christ in our community as we seek to do his will,” says Russell Kirksey, deacon and donations coordinator at Mount Olive. “This situation is of an indeterminate period of time. Government officials still have not put forth a plan for a long-term fix for the problem. I was informed that the churches will be asked to do more as some of the resources in place now are withdrawn.”

For individuals and churches interested in donating bottled water, Mount Olive is accepting the following sizes: 8-, 12- and 16.9-fluid-ounce bottles in addition to gallon water jugs.

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

For those who would like to help financially, donations designated to “One Great Hour of Sharing—Flint Water Crisis” 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.