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September 20, 2001, NEW YORK CITY – In the aftermath of September 11’s unprecedented terror attacks, Church World Service and its partner denominations are focusing their response on immediate and long-term emotional and spiritual counseling and pastoral care for families and disaster survivors - not only in New York and Washington, but throughout the country.

This disaster response effort is vast in scope, national in scale and is set for long-term recovery efforts, reported the Emergency Response Program of Church World Service, part of the National Council of Churches.  The CWS response to the emotional and spiritual needs of this crisis will span several years.

The CWS Emergency Response Program has mobilized trained Interfaith Crisis Counseling teams to New York. These teams have been requested to provide emotional and spiritual care and stress debriefing. The teams will address immediate needs as well as prepare for the provision of long-term recovery services and model a direct interfaith response to other caregivers and those affected in the New York community.

Qualified volunteer counselors from CWS-member denominations will be matched with requests for counseling received from around the country. The CWS-Emergency Response field office in New Windsor, Md., has been staffed and fully operational since the afternoon of September 11. Space and equipment for the office have been donated by the Church of the Brethren.

Three CWS volunteer emergency response consultants, assisted by three volunteers from AmeriCorps, are in New York and are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster (VOAD) and local churches and judicatories to coordinate the faith-based response with FEMA and the voluntary agencies.

The CWS-ERP Disaster Response Facilitators -- New York-based Joann Hale, United Church of Christ; North Carolina-based Charles Moeller, Lutheran Disaster Response, and Michigan-based Ellie Wykstra, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) -- are working with denominational representatives, FEMA, the State of New York, the city of New York and New York City VOADS.

As part of interfaith organizing efforts in New York City, CWS is coordinating a September 20 meeting of denominational representatives.  The meeting is intended for information sharing and to begin developing the faith community’s response strategies and coordination. Representatives of FEMA and the Red Cross will also provide information.

In Washington, D.C., DRF Shirley Norman, Church of the Brethren, is helping coordinate a meeting in Washington, D.C., next week for pastors to discuss pastoral care issues.  An interfaith is not envisioned in Washington since survivors and the families of those killed at the Pentagon will have counseling provided for by the U.S. government.

CWS has provided financial support to help mobilize the Church of the Brethren Child Care Aviation Incident Response (CAIR) teams. These teams provide childcare and emotional support services to children of the families and victims of the disasters. The teams have been on site since last week.

Two CAIR Teams -- with 11 members in all --set up a child care center at the Family Assistance Center provided by the Office of the Mayor of New York City and the American Red Cross.   A third CAIR Team of seven people arrived in New York September 16 to help keep the Child Care Center open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.  

There may be a second Family Assistance Center opening in New Jersey so that family members of victims in that state will not have to travel to Manhattan, and some of the CAIR Team members are being transferred to New Jersey to open that center. Additional volunteers are being called in to support the two child care centers.

Other CWS Emergency Response consultants have been mobilized across the country to provide assistance in Pennsylvania and California. Other consultants have also been put on alert.  In addition, CWS Emergency Response is holding twice-weekly coordination meetings with CWS denominational national emergency response programs.

An appeal has been opened. Church World Service is seeking strong financial support to help with both the initial and long-term response and recovery efforts.  Monetary contributions may be directed to: Domestic Terrorism Recovery, Appeal #6251, CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515. Additional on-line information:; credit card donations: or info/donations by phone: (800) 297-1516.


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