From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Newsline: Brethren Disaster Ministries to be part of New Orleans blitz build

From cobnews <>
Date Thu, 12 Feb 2009 12:08:19 -0600

Newsline: Church of the Brethren News Service -- Feb. 12, 2009
Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, News Director
800-323-8039 ext. 260 --


(Feb. 12, 2009) Elgin, IL -- Brethren Disaster Ministries is taking part in  an ecumenical "blitz build" in New Orleans on April 20-May 16. The project  is in partnership with Church World Service (CWS) and nine other denominat ions, to build and repair a minimum of 12 homes destroyed by Hurricane Katr ina in the Little Woods neighborhood of New Orleans.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is a program of the Church of the Brethren. A  grant of $25,000 from the church's Emergency Disaster Fund has been given t o the project. The money will help purchase building materials, tools, and  supplies, and will help provide volunteer housing, meals, and additional tr avel expenses.

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff reported that their program is helping t o lay the groundwork for the event. "Brethren Disaster Ministries has taken  one of the lead roles by committing additional staff and volunteer time to  prepare homes prior to the blitz and taking on additional responsibilities  and management during the blitz," reported associate director Zach Wolgemu th.

More than three years after Hurricane Katrina hit the northern Gulf Coast o n Aug. 29, 2005, "public awareness has diminished leaving thousands of resi dents frustrated and unable to return to their homes as countless agencies  have terminated their recovery efforts," said the grant request.

"Yet amidst this humbling reality, the work of the faith community's respon se in the greater New Orleans area demonstrates the effectiveness of even s mall efforts as single homes are repaired, prompting others to do the same, " the request continued. "That is why Brethren Disaster Ministries has join ed with CWS and nine of its member denominations and partners in rebuilding  a single neighborhood: Little Woods, in eastern New Orleans."

Little Woods was selected because of its diversity, lack of prior attention , the size of its homes (1,200-1,400 square feet), its ability to host volu nteer teams, and the potential for the ecumenical community to make a large  impact. Each denominational partner has been asked to contribute financial ly to the project and provide at least 15 volunteers a week. Volunteer team s will work weekly from April 20 through May 16 in order to repair a minimu m of 12 homes in the community.

In other news from Brethren Disaster Ministries, two other rebuilding proje cts continue, in Johnson County, Ind., following flooding last spring, and  in Chalmette, La., continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina. A project in  Rushford, Minn., rebuilding homes following flooding has been completed.

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continu ing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in  community. The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith t raditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrated it s 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts more than 125,000 members across the  United States and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Nig eria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India.

># # #

>For more information contact:

>Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
>Director of News Services
>Church of the Brethren
>1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120
>800-323-8039 ext. 260

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