Jesus’ ministry was to seek, save and heal.  As his disciples, we look for ways to follow in his steps.  The HOPE worldwide and Benevolence Service Team of the International Churches of Christ report here on the closer working relationship of HOPE worldwide   and our churches around the world.  Because of this partnership, in the recent Haiti disaster, relief teams were on the scene within days and there are clear plans to use the $500,000 donated to help disciples and the community.  

See the latest report from the service team below.

The HOPE worldwide and Benevolence Committee, Jan. 2010 Report (covering late 2009, early 2010)

By Mark Templer (Chairman) and John Causey (Vice-Chairman)

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” -Matthew 25:40

The brothers and sisters on the HOPE worldwide and Benevolence Committee have continued meeting together on a monthly basis, besides having extensive individual phone calls, emails and fellowship meetings between members.  In the past year we have seen God bless our work in a powerful way, with the help of your prayers.  We have had many valuable suggestions from Committee members and others.  We treasure two-way communication between the churches and HOPE worldwide, and we welcome the comments and suggestions of church leaders and all disciples.

DISASTER RESPONSE PLAN

The Committee worked hard with church leaders like John Causey, David Kim, Gary Sciascia, and Koko Enrile (and others) to coordinate giving among the churches to help the disciples affected by flooding in the Philippines in late September, 2009.  Over $200,000 was raised to help the saints!  A good portion of this was sent through HOPE worldwide, which decided to waive all administrative charges for church donations to disaster relief for disciples.  The Committee commissioned a subcommittee to create a “disaster response protocol” to prepare a rapid-response and coordination plan to deal with future disasters, both those that affect disciples, and those that affect the world but spare the saints.  This protocol was prepared with the help of HOPE worldwide staff and approved by the Committee. 

Sadly, it immediately was required when the terrible earthquake struck Haiti earlier this month.  The churches have rallied in an incredible way to help our suffering brothers and sisters, and HOPE worldwide has been right at the center of the relief effort.  A joint HOPE worldwide-ICOC relief team led by Dr. Mark Ottenweller and Evangelist Stanley Dumornay (NY) went to Haiti to assist the saints and assess the situation.  They slept in a car and risked their lives to encourage the courageous brothers and sisters and friends there.  HOPE worldwide‘s staff is working double-time to not only assist the saints, but to mobilize support from the world to do long-term rehabilitation for those devastated by the earthquake.  The Committee was glad to help with this noble effort. (Click here for an update. )

BENEVOLENCE

As noted in an earlier report, the Committee has decided to take on the “Benevolence” part of its charge, and has had several discussions on this topic.  We’ve talked about how individual congregations handle benevolence, as well as global crises.  Congregations address benevolence through a variety of methods, ranging from one-off collections for special needs, to Deacons of Benevolence, to specific congregational policies for benevolence (as well as deaths of members, and deaths of relatives of members).  Grief counseling was identified as a need.  In addition, in today’s difficult economy several helpful ideas for members were suggested, including job fairs, trades newsletters, and career transition workshops. 

Click here for an online “Benevolence and Bereavement Toolkit” for churches and their members:

There also is a “CHURCH RESOURCES” page commissioned by the committee on the HOPE worldwide website.  This is reachable from a link on the homepage (SUPPORT OUR WORK/CHURCH RESOURCES), or directly on:

Click here for the Church Resources page.

MEETINGS, INTERNATIONAL MEMBERSHIP

The Committee has met very consistently (10 times after Kiev, 4 times since Denver) and has representation from all over the US, with over 20 people in attendance on typical calls.  We recently added several active international members, and we welcome qualified members from all over the world-contact mark_templer@hopeww.org if you live outside the US and are interested in joining.

SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES

The Committee has also helped commission HOPE worldwide to encourage more united spiritual activities by its employees, with a global day of fasting for employees on November 21, 2009.  In addition, HOPE worldwide employees and friends started out 2010 with a multi-nation, 7-day 24-hour prayer chain from January 1st-7th, 2010.  There were nearly 30 prayer requests, and most prayer slots were covered by disciples from more than one country at the same time.

Many congregations around the world will celebrate March 21st, 2010 as a second “Remember the Poor” Sunday where churches can teach about the scriptural basis for helping the poor, as well as sharing about the work of HOPE worldwide.  Materials for sermons, midweek classes, and even children’s classes are being prepared, as well as videos about HOPE worldwide’s work (especially the effort after the flood in the Philippines), and one featuring powerful scriptural teaching and sharing by Dr. Gary Jacques of HOPE worldwide, VP for Global Programs and former Evangelist and Director of the Cambodia Hospital.  

Other brothers are working on producing additional Scriptural materials about helping the poor, including Steve Kinnard (NY), Douglas Jacoby (Atlanta), and Mark Templer (New Delhi).

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF GIVING FUNDRAISER

The International Day of Giving fundraiser was a great success.  It came just a few weeks after many churches had generously sacrificed to help the brothers and sisters in the Philippines who lost everything in the flooding.   It was all the more encouraging to see the disciples rise to the occasion and raise funds boldly for the poor just before the US Thanksgiving holiday.  A total of $470,210.62 was collected from 44 congregations, 11 of which had not previously been giving to HOPE worldwide.  Of these funds, $159,703.81 was a fulfillment of 2009 commitments already made.  Another $221,399.21 were advances on 2010 commitments.  This advance giving will greatly help HOPEww budget and plan for the next year.  Finally, another $89,107.60 was new revenue we did not receive in 2008 and that is not advanced giving for 2010.

We pray this success will set up an annual pattern of collecting funds through fundraising, in advance, every year.  We are already planning for the 2010 International Day of Giving on November 21, 2010.

In all, the churches gave $1,010,637.74 in 2009, plus $221,399.21 in advances for 2010.  This compares favorably to about $900k given in 2008, and it is all the more impressive coming in a year with natural disasters (Philippines) and global recession.  The hearts of the saints are turning more and more towards compassion and serving others, even in times of deep personal crisis and need.  We pray for God’s blessing to come on all the saints, who have served Christ with noble hearts.

CHURCH GIVING

Giving from the churches to HOPE worldwide increased in 2009, but not as much as we collectively had committed at the 2008 ILC in Kiev.  We are very thankful for every dollar given for the sake of the poor.  Unfortunately, HOPE worldwide’s church giving was well short of the $1.4 million required for sustainability, and several loyal and noble staff either lost their jobs or were forced to find alternative sources of funding to continue helping the poor.  The organization has stabilized at lower levels of funding, but everyone is very, very stretched trying to meet all the needs.  Please pray for the finances of HOPE worldwide, that God will provide HOPE with what it needs to be the hands of Jesus touching a hurting world.

Coordinators and Church Leaders have been requested by the Committee and the Delegates to spread the word and contact churches in their regions to facilitate working together to achieve the goal of HOPE worldwide. The Committee is very thankful to the churches and all the saints for their tireless efforts on behalf of the poor.  HOPE worldwide has been regularly featured in regional conferences and leadership gatherings.  We pray that together we can achieve even greater things in the coming year.  We need your help, and we need your prayers.

For the HOPE worldwide and Benevolence Committee,

Mark Templer and John Causey (Chairman and Vice-Chairman)

Region

HOPE worldwide Benevolence Committee Members

ACR

Walter Evans

FLORIDA

John Brush

HEARTLAND

Gregg Marutzky/Charlie Sawyer

MID-SOUTH

Frank Williams

MW

Darren Gauthier

NE

Doug Arthur

NW

Lynne Green/Ray Nadon/Steve Johnson

NY

Sheridan Wright

SE

JP Tynes

SW

John Causey/Robert Carrillo

TEXAS

Herve Fleurant/Bill Hooper/Jim Prather

OVERSEAS

Darick Wong/Mark Templer/Kouichi Miyakawa/Rich Hayashi/ /Patsy Remijan

OTHER churches

Antonio Boyd