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Sipsey Assoc. 'impressive' in disaster reliefcomment (0)

April 5, 2012

Sipsey Baptist Association — made up of 15 churches — may be one of the smallest associations in the state, but it has a big name in disaster relief.

There are more than 40 people in Sipsey Association who are trained in disaster relief, said Director of Missions Max Stripling.

Mel Johnson, disaster relief strategist with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, called that number “impressive.”

Johnson said Sipsey is the smallest association in the state to have that number of trained disaster relief volunteers. 

In mathematical terms, that figure averages to more than 2.67 volunteers per church.

“Sipsey has one of the highest concentrations of disaster relief personnel in relation to the number of churches,” Johnson said, noting  Sipsey’s concentration appears to be the highest in the state.

“There is a keen awareness of the importance of disaster relief and a desire in the association to continue the building process,” Johnson said. “We are thankful for the great interest and effort to develop disaster relief resources in this area.”

Stripling said the people of Sipsey Association have a desire to be prepared not only to minister in their own tornado-prone area, but also in other places of crisis.

Johnson said the commitment is evident in disaster relief courses. “The training events held for the area have been well attended.”

Actually, in October 2010, approximately 25 from Sipsey Association were trained and became part of the disaster relief crew, Stripling said. “We probably doubled our number” with that training session.

Then came April 27, 2011, which for many of those 25 was their first disaster relief experience, Stripling said. Although Sipsey has a disaster relief crew that is strong in number, the members generally must attach themselves to teams from other associations with trained disaster relief leadership.

While Sipsey’s concentration of disaster relief personnel may be unique, its commitment to disaster relief is a common thread among many smaller associations.

“It is often the smaller rural associations that have the strongest influence in disaster relief,” Johnson observed. “Alabama’s heaviest concentration of disaster relief personnel and involvement are often from rural areas and smaller churches.” 


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