Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed a grant of $15,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to the Rwanda Church of the Brethren. The grant will be used to help families who have been displaced by the eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano. In related news, an EDF grant of $20,000–representing a donation from The Meat Canning Committee of the Church of the Brethren districts of Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic–has been given to Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) in Honduras for a chicken-raising project to aid survivors of Hurricanes Iota and Eta.
In updates from Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), the rebuilding project site in North Carolina has been closed, with the prospect of reopening the site this fall. CDS has sent a second volunteer team to Texas to work with migrant children and families at the border
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to help Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC) respond to the eruption of a volcano near the city of Goma and to respond to the families displaced by violence who have fled to the city of Uvira. Grants for COVID-19 relief work also are being given to the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela and to Bittersweet Ministries in Mexico.
A disaster relief response to the volcanic eruption that has affected the area around the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and around the city of Gisenyi, Rwanda, is planned by Brethren Disaster Ministries. Brethren church members and congregations have been affected in both the DRC and Rwanda, with damage to homes and church buildings reported. Continuing damage is occurring from the earthquakes that followed on the volcanic explosion that took place May 22.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund to COVID-19 response in Nigeria through Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and the worldwide COVID response by Church World Service (CWS). Another grant supports CWS relief work in Indonesia and Timor-Leste following flooding. A grant also has been given to support a humanitarian response at the southern US border by Children’s Disaster Services (CDS).
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has deployed a team to work with children along the US/Mexico border in Texas. This CDS team will be on location for two weeks, providing creative play opportunities for the children and much needed rest for their parents before the next leg of their journey. Since arriving in Texas, the team has been averaging 40 to 45 children per day in the CDS center.
Churches are being asked to help support COVID-19 vaccination efforts across the United States. A COVID-19 Community Corps has been launched, inviting churches among other community groups to help build vaccine confidence in their communities. Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is collecting a list of churches and other community organizations that can help support the national vaccination effort.
Brethren Disaster Ministries is one of the organizations working with the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Operations Group to build homes for tornado survivors in Trotwood, Ohio. A groundbreaking took place April 14 on the first two Trotwood homes as part of the Tornado Survivors Pathway to Homeownership Project (Pathways Project).
This year, with the entire Conference online, we are encouraging everyone in the Church of the Brethren–regardless of whether registering for or attending the Conference–to join the Virtual Blood Drive and to donate locally between June 15 and July 15.
Staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) are monitoring the situation at the southern border of the United States as numbers of migrants increase, in particular the conditions for families with children and unaccompanied minors.