My opinion from previous disasters is that the crisis response, e.g. food, water and shelter is best handled by the big NGOs who specialise in emergency relief. In UK there is a Disasters Emergency Committee comprising 14 large NGOs which includes Tearfund and World Vision. An appeal has been launched and I recommend that any who wish to give for immediate relief should donate to that appeal.
Is there a place for the church?
I believe that the church has a major part to play when disaster happens. In the early days that is probably primarily supporting people emotionally to handle trauma and loss, but as time goes on and the public spotlight moves elsewhere there is the long haul of rebuilding lives. I believe the church, as an integral part of the community, comes into its own at this point.
The request for funds
I am on a circulation list from the Newfrontiers church in Manila (House of Grace Community Church) and have received an email requesting funds from Eden Singson, the lead elder. Indeed I visited 18 months ago, and having known Eden and Fay for many years and seen their hearts to help the poor feel I would like to help channel funds to them. I must stress this is a personal initiative.
The people of House of Grace Community Church were not themselves seriously affected. The essence of Eden’s email is that they have strong links from their church into the affected areas (an island called Bantayan in the province of Cebu) and want to channel funds to help rebuild houses, a vital footbridge etc. They also have another couple in the island of Bohol who have requested help. I am sure more specific needs will emerge if funds become available.
Eden has managed large projects in the past (though probably not of this order – no-one has) and I trust him to use and channel funds wisely as they are needed and can be used responsibly. So I am opening a fund to collect and channel funds.
I suggest there are three possible responses.
1. If you would like to contribute to this appeal from the Manila church I would be pleased to take responsibility to pass on donations. Please write to me and I will give you the bank details. I am currently exploring whether there is a way I can also get any potential Gift Aid reclaimed (relevant only to UK based people). If you are from outside the UK I can give you the bank details in Manila. To contact me click the email address email@example.com in the side panel with Philippines Appeal in the topic line.
2. If you are in the UK and wish to give to the DEC appeal click here.
3. Urge your church to pray for the situation.
Thank you. I will post updates as I receive them.