December 30, 2003
[posted here 1-5-04]
Click here for this article as posted on the PCUSA website.
With the Search and Rescue portion of the earthquake
closing on Saturday, the relief work will begin in earnest. Relief agencies
have been asked not to send any personnel into the region until all search
and rescue efforts are brought to a close. The Iranian Red Crescent has
completed initial assessment work in Bam and has issued a preliminary appeal
to assist 200,000 beneficiaries for 6 months. All response agencies will be
working under the coordination of, and in cooperation with, the Iranian Red
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is committing an initial
$150,000 to the response. $50,000 will come from One Great Hour of Sharing
funds, and $100,000 from designated funds in the General Relief Account.
$10,000 is being immediately forwarded to the Middle East Council of
Churches to supplement rapid response funds of $80,000 that they have
already received. Committed funds will be sent as soon as the formal plans
and budgets are received from the field.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will be seconding Medhi
Abhari, an Iranian, to the ACT alliance efforts in Iran. He will be there
for six months assisting in every possible way. Mehdi brings special skills
in care giving and in financial accounting, as well as being able to serve
as a cultural broker and translator for the many specialists who will be
posted to guide the relief efforts. Plans are also underway to prepare and
send a psycho-social assessment team in cooperation with the Church of
Sweden and with Norwegian Church Aid.
A letter of concern and support from the stated clerk is
being sent to the Iranian section of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.
Information from other ACT alliance members indicates that
Norwegian Church Aid has a water sanitation team in route to begin work on
water systems for the tent cities. They maintain specialized water engineers
on call for this purpose. Diakonia from Germany has moved supplies including
a large number of family tents into Iran from warehouses in Amman, Jordon.
The Middle East Council of Churches has staff in Iran working and is
providing tents and food.
Church World Service is currently in conversation with the
U.S. State Department about shipping humanitarian supplies. In particular
the Interchurch Medical Assistance medicine boxes are being prepared for
shipment. We are thankful to Presbyterian
Women who so faithfully assemble the medicine boxes that are of great
value in emergency situations. Health kits and other supplies may also be
sent. At the moment, the political situation does not allow for direct
shipment to Iran from the United States.
We urge continued prayer for this situation. PDA will be
engaged in this effort for months to come. The next critical steps will be
to quickly provide survivors with a sense of control over their lives
through organizing them to provide services within the tent city including
restarting schools for children. This is a time of grief for the entire
Financial donations can be directed to the designated
#9-2000081 - Middle East relief - through normal mission giving
channels. Gifts by credit card can be made by calling PresbyTel at (800)
872-3283 or online at
http://www.pcusa.org/pda/donate/accounts.htm; checks can also be mailed
Central Receiving Service
Louisville, KY 40289
Bruce Gillette adds:
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been quick to join the
ecumenical relief efforts following the massive earthquake in Iran on
December 26; the latest reports are that as many as 50,000 people may have
been killed. You can make a secure, online tax-deductible donation to
support our church's relief work:
Sunday School classes and youth groups are preparing
Church World Service "Health Kits":
photo gallery display that could be used for a church bulletin board:
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly have now been acted upon by the presbyteries,
confirming most of them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.
We provided resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest have been:
which removes the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
Confessions. Disapproved, because as an amendment
to the Book of Confessions it needed a 2/3 vote, and did not
10-1, which adopts the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. Approved.|
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