Newsline for March 12, 2011

1) Church board issues call to prayer for Japan and all affected by earthquake and tsunami.
2) Brethren Disaster Ministries begins planning to support CWS relief efforts in Japan.

1) Church board issues call to prayer for Japan and all affected by earthquake and tsunami.

The Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board this afternoon issued the following call to prayer for the people of Japan and all those affected by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. The Mission and Ministry Board currently is holding its spring meeting at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill.:

A Call to Prayer for Japan, March 12, 2011

As we meet, the Mission and Ministry Board calls the whole church to pause and remember the Japanese people in prayer, and all who have been affected. They are living through the horrific tragedy of an earthquake, then tsunami, and the resulting technological disasters that compound the loss of so many lives and so many homes.

Merciful Lord, in their hour of anguish, hear and answer the cries of the Japanese people. Hear our prayers as our tears exclaim our compassion for all people who suffer. May your love, grace, and compassion bring a sense of comfort for those who mourn. Be with the many who work to bring relief, food, water, and shelter to those in need. And gracious God especially touch those mourning the loss of loved ones.

“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…. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:1-3, 11).

2) Brethren Disaster Ministries begins planning to support CWS relief efforts in Japan.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has begun planning to support Church World Service (CWS) and its partners in relief efforts in Japan. The powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan overnight Friday also may have affected areas in the Pacific Rim where CWS has programs, and the organization is monitoring effects of the tsunami in Hawaii and other Western state coastal areas in the United States.

In Japan, Church World Service is prepared to support efforts of partners there, including the National Christian Council of Japan and the United Church of Christ of Japan, both of which are planning relief efforts. CWS is considering other partnerships in Japan as well, and may be involved in the issue of disaster risk reduction.

Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, also said that the program will be planning to support the Voluntary Organizations of Japan providing disaster assistance. This group received training and guidance from the US based National VOAD organizations, including Brethren Disaster Ministries.

“Japan is obviously a country of substantive resources and a construction industry that is renowned and the country has been on the cutting edge of building earthquake-resistant housing,” said Donna Derr, director of CWS’s development and humanitarian programs. “As such, this bodes well for them being able to manage a pretty effective recovery over time themselves. However, with devastation of this magnitude, we stand ready to assist as a determination is made of where international assistance can be most helpful.”

Brethren may support this relief effort through gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund. Give online at or send donations to Emergency Disaster Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue is scheduled for March 23. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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