An American Baptist plea for emergency One Great Hour of Sharing support, COVID-19 creates great need

VALLEY FORGE, PA (4/8/20)—As the United States and the globe deal with the death and devastation wrought by the coronavirus, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) and International Ministries (IM), also known as the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society—on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA—seek One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) COVID emergency support to help families, churches and communities find relief and recovery across the United States, Puerto Rico and countries around the world served by IM.

The OGHS COVID RESPONSE is a two-part appeal: one part for relief across the United States and Puerto Rico; the second part for international relief.

Funds raised for relief across the United States and Puerto Rico will be utilized by ABHMS as part of an emergency strategic plan—COVID RECOVERY: Renewing Hope and Service—currently being developed to address the far-reaching needs created by the current pandemic. Moreover, OGHS contributions will support American Baptist regions and churches dealing with current challenges as well as those bound to follow in the weeks and years ahead.

Specifically, donations to ABHMS’ OGHS appeal will assist with immediate needs, such as unemployment or loss of income, housing, hunger and access to healthcare. Donations will also fund programs supporting the well-being and mental health of faith leaders, congregations and communities. In the current context of social distancing, as churches seek to connect with members through online connections, the need for enhanced technology has emerged in many churches. ABHMS also seeks to support American Baptist regions, denominationally related colleges, universities and seminaries along with community ministries (Neighborhood Action Programs and other service organizations) that are serving families in marginalized settings. There are also emerging needs that are not known presently.

OGHS COVID RESPONSE: INTERNATIONAL funds given for global relief will be used by IM to respond to requests by international partners for emergency grants. Gifts will meet immediate needs for feeding, housing and providing healthcare for persons impacted by COVID-19, with particular support for emergent and unmet needs of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrant populations. Funds will also support IM’s global partners at risk of suspending vital services to vulnerable members of their communities and will facilitate activities and programs focused on sustainable solutions that address the long-term impact of the pandemic.

IM recognizes these days as sacred time to support one another and remain connected as an American Baptist family. Past decades of disasters did not affect our entire nation, but today American Baptists across the country are adjusting their lives in these harsh realities of COVID-19. IM stands with you in prayer for the many needs within your own congregations and communities in the coming months. As you prayerfully evaluate your household resources and the tremendous needs in your local church and communities, IM welcomes your donations to support OGHS COVID RESPONSE: INTERNATIONAL efforts outside of the United States and Puerto Rico and will faithfully apply your gift in countries where IM serves.

To give to OGHS COVID Response for support of global relief efforts, donations can be made online, via your church or check payable to International Ministries and mailed to the attention of Donor Services at International Ministries, 1003 W. 9th Ave., Suite A, King of Prussia, PA 19406. Write “OGHS-COVID RESPONSE: INTERNATIONAL” on the memo line.

To give to OGHS for support of relief initiatives across the United States and Puerto Rico, donations can be made online, via your church or check payable to American Baptist Home Mission Societies and mailed to the attention of Leda Carter at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406. Write “OGHS-COVID Recovery: US & PR” on the memo line.

One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check.

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.

International Ministries, also known as the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, works cross-culturally to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to proclaim, through both word and deed, God’s reign of justice, peace and abundant life for all creation.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 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.