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Alabama Baptist churches urged to observe one-year anniversary of April 2011 tornadoescomment (0)

March 1, 2012

By Gary Hardin

Alabama Baptist churches urged to observe one-year anniversary of April 2011 tornadoes

Anyone who has faced a significant loss or disaster knows that the one-year mark of that crisis brings back painful memories and emotional stress.

Soon Alabamians will face the first anniversary of the April 2011 tornadoes. And the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) is asking Alabama Baptist churches to set aside April 22 as a day of remembrance with worship and a disaster relief offering.

“The one-year anniversary date of the April 2011 tornadoes is critical because it will bring back emotional trauma for congregations and individuals who went through these damaging storms,” said Mel Johnson, disaster relief strategist for the SBOM. “A Time to Remember: 2011 Tornadoes is a way our churches can help people move beyond this tragedy by showing them the hope we have in Christ and by praying for them.”

Numerous resources are being made available to churches to assist them in the observance. A booklet, “A Time to Remember: 2011 Tornadoes,” has been mailed to pastors and directors of missions. The booklet includes church and associational planning guides, sample worship services and sermon suggestions.

Bulletin inserts, in color or black and white, can be downloaded from www.sbdr.org. On the Resources tab, click on the “a time to remember” link.

Churches may consider downloading the family disaster preparedness plan from the website and making it available to families. The plan shows what to do in an emergency and how to assemble a family disaster supply kit and gives several suggestions on how to cope during an emergency.

Churches and associations can select from several disaster relief videos that can be shown during the remembrance worship service or at other times. Videos can be downloaded from www.alsbom.tv beginning March 1.

Envelopes for the disaster relief offering churches are asked to receive on the day of remembrance can be ordered by calling the SBOM disaster relief office at 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 273. The offering will be used to purchase equipment for associations to use in their disaster relief ministries. Churches are asked to set an offering goal of $1 per member.

John Brock, senior pastor of Highland Baptist Church, Florence, plans to lead his church to observe the day of remembrance.

“Our church was very involved in ministry at Phil Campbell and Hackleburg in April 2011. I think the day of remembrance is a great thing for our church to do because we have seen firsthand what disaster relief volunteers do,” he said.

Churches that cannot participate in the day of remembrance April 22 are encouraged to select another date.

Autauga Baptist Association is planning a service April 15 because tornadoes hit Autauga County and Boones Chapel Baptist Church, Prattville, on that date last year.

Rick Lance, SBOM executive director, noted that April 2011 might have been the most challenging time the people of Alabama have ever faced.

“On Sunday, April 22, we commemorate the first anniversary of what we can call 4/27,” he said. “This will be a time of reflection and dedication for us as a people of faith.”

To view a video related to this story, visit the video library.

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