Southern Baptists to Reallocate Funds to Aid People Affected by Hurricanes

Send Relief efforts led by the North American Mission will receive an additional $1.25 million for ministry in Florida and Texas from a reallocation of a Cooperative Program overage by the SBC Executive Committee from gifts by Southern Baptist churches during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. (Screen capture from NAMB)
Send Relief efforts led by the North American Mission will receive an additional $1.25 million for ministry in Florida and Texas from a reallocation of a Cooperative Program overage by the SBC Executive Committee from gifts by Southern Baptist churches during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. (Screen capture from NAMB)

Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program helped survivors after Hurricane Katrina in 2005; it will do so again in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and, now, Maria.

The SBC Executive Committee, in its Sept. 18-19 meeting in Nashville, voted to utilize overages in the 2016-2017 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget for disaster relief in two ways:

— Designating the first $1.25 million of any overage in the SBC’s $189 million allocation budget for disaster relief in Florida and Texas by the Send Relief ministry of the North American Mission Board.

— Redirecting all of the overage that would go to the Executive Committee to the International Mission Board for international disaster relief initiatives such as those under way in the Caribbean.

The EC also made provision for other SBC entities to assist with hurricane relief from their budgets through a one-time action to suspend SBC bylaw stipulations.

The Executive Committee also issued a “Call to Prevailing, Intercessory Prayer” in light of recent natural disasters, including wildfires raging in the West, and the current cultural tumult in the U.S. such as racism and “rampant disregard for the commands and teaching of God’s Word.” (See today’s Executive Committee wrap-up report.)

Frank S. Page, the Executive Committee’s president, set forth the CP reallocation by noting to EC members, “We are blessed this year to receive more than we needed for our budget. We praise God for that. So we’re asking that of the overage, $1.25 million go to disaster relief.

“But of the Executive Committee’s overage, we’re giving 100 percent of that overage to disaster relief through the IMB,” Page said of the recommendation, adding that it’s important that Southern Baptists be “proactive, take a stand and say, ‘We want to bless those who are hurting in this difficult time.'”

The Executive Committee actions, approved unanimously acting ad interim on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention, parallel those taken by the EC after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans, including New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005.

The $1.25 million CP reallocation to NAMB’s Send Relief and the reallocation to the IMB from the Executive Committee are “a good starting place,” Page said, in an overage that could reach $8 million by the close of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Beyond the $1.25 million reallocation, the remainder of the CP overage will be distributed to the SBC entities according to the standing CP allocation percentages, with Page noting that each entity will have the opportunity “to give even more” for Southern Baptists’ relief work in the disaster zones.

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SOURCE: Art Toalston 
Baptist Press