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Gov. Riley calls for day of prayer; Alabama Baptists seeking ways to helpcomment (0)

July 1, 2010

Alabamians this summer. And for beachgoers on the Gulf Coast this past Sunday, it meant knowing people across four states were praying for the area recently devastated by the now infamous oil spill.

 Alabama’s Gov. Bob Riley, Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi’s Gov. Haley Barbour and Texas’ Gov. Rick Perry all issued proclamations calling for a day of prayer June 27 for a solution to the oil spill and for citizens impacted by the disaster.

“Throughout our history, Alabamians have humbly turned to God to ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of struggle. This is certainly one of those times,” Riley said in a statement.

Riley’s proclamation reads in part, “Citizens of Alabama are urged to pray for the well-being of our fellow citizens and our State, to pray for all those in other states who are hurt by this disaster, to pray for those who are working to respond to this crisis, and to pray that a solution that stops the oil leak is completed soon.”

Paul Smith, pastor of Romar Beach Baptist Church, Orange Beach, said the needs in the area are great.

His congregation is having to decide how to best minister to the people in the area who have been devastated. And he asks all Alabama Baptist churches to help.

“The sight of our sugar-white beaches covered with horrible, black gooky oil has been heartbreaking,” Smith said in an open letter sent to The Alabama Baptist (see letter, this page).

But “we refuse to whine, complain, point fingers or have a pity party. Rather we recognize that our God is bigger than any problem, including tragedies, disasters and oil spills.

“We must focus on what we can do to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of the community,” he said, noting financial assistance is one way to help.

Alabama Baptists will also soon be helping in other ways, said Mel Johnson, disaster relief strategist with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).

Noting that Alabama Baptist churches were challenged to participate in the day of prayer, Johnson said, “We want to help through prayer as well as other tangible ways such as disaster relief efforts.”

He said disaster relief teams will soon be working on the Gulf Coast. At press time, he was scheduled to meet with other disaster relief officials and state and federal authorities about the situation June 30–July 2.

The Alabama Baptist school most closely affected by the disaster is the University of Mobile (UMobile).

UMobile President Mark Foley called on the university family to join the state in prayer.

“Our responsibility is to humble self, pray, seek and repent. God has promised His response,” he said.

Southern Baptist Convention messengers meeting in Orlando, Fla., June 16 also passed a resolution calling on churches and Christians “to pray for the end of this catastrophe and for the homes, lives, cultures, and livelihoods of those in the Gulf Coast region.”

For information about how to help, call Johnson at the SBOM at 1-800-264-1225 or Smith at Romar Beach Baptist at 251-981-8959. (TAB, BP)

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