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CWS MOBILIZES ITS U.S. DISASTER RESPONSE
September 14, 2001, NEW YORK CITY Church World Service has mobilized its network of Disaster Response Consultants nationwide to provide pastoral care in New York City; Washington, D.C., and other locales as needed in the wake of Tuesdays attacks on national sites.
CWS, part of the National Council of Churches, has established a "Domestic Terrorism Recovery" account to receive funds to help in the recovery effort. Financial contributions may be made on-line at www.churchworldservice.org, by phone at 1-800-297-1516 or by mail to CWS Domestic Terrorism Recovery, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.
"The member denominations of the CWS Emergency Response Program are mobilizing our churches to minister within their own communities -- as this disaster has affected all people in the United States -- and providing trained volunteers to offer emotional and spiritual care to those directly affected," the CWS Emergency Response Program reported. "Our years of learning from the Oklahoma City disaster lead us to anticipate that this will be a long-term response."
CWS is unable to receive volunteers or material resources unless a specific request is made through denominational headquarters. "We would encourage all churches to engage in continued prayer and meditation at this time of tragedy," CWS/ERP said.
The Church World Service (CWS) Emergency Response Executive Committee, meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, moved into immediate emergency session Tuesday in response to the news of the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and other sites.
"Together we express prayerful concern for the many families and individuals who are impacted by these events," the committee said. Together the member communions of the CWS Emergency Response Executive Committee are implementing and coordinating an immediate response that also includes:
¨ Deployment of Disaster Response Consultants: Joanne Hale in New York; Carl Chamberlain to the New York Emergency Operations Center; Shirley Norman to the metro D.C. and Pennsylvania areas; Ellie Wykstra to the temporary CWS-ERP Satellite Response Coordination Office at the Church of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland.
¨ Survey of the pastoral care and critical incident stress debriefing resources of member denominations with the intention of offering training to select persons from the faith community who can assist in providing these services to those affected throughout the U.S.
¨ Offer of material resources to those who are providing their facilities as shelters.
¨ Offering opportunities for the faith community throughout the U.S. to determine how they might offer solace, support and solidarity to people in their local communities, particularly those in the areas of New York; Washington, DC; Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; and Somerset County, PA
The committee invoked the promise that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam; though the mountains tremble with its tumult." (Psalm 46; 1-3)
"It is in these words of hope and promise that we find comfort during this time," the committee said. "We beseech members of our communions to join us in prayer and to stand ready to offer the resources for our common response as the needs become apparent during coming days and weeks."
CWS Emergency Response Executive Committee members present at Santa Fe: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance; Reformed Church World Service; United Church of Christ National Disaster Ministries; Week of Compassion, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); United Methodist Committee on Relief; Lutheran Disaster Response; Church of the Brethren Emergency Response and Service Ministries.
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