Sunday, 19 May 2024

Unity Prayer Day Offering 2023 - A Disaster Relief Fund

Every year, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Moravian Church, a collection is taken up across all the Moravian Churches to help with a particular project. Often this collection has helped with building projects in various parts of the Unity. However, particularly with the recent climate issues brought about by global warming, a need has developed for the establishment of a Moravian Unity Disaster Relief Fund (MUDRF) to enable funds to be dispatched quickly to areas who require urgent assistance. This year, the Unity Prayer Day Offering for 2023 will be used as start up capital for this fund.

Many Moravians live in very vulnerable areas. It is not long ago (October 2017) that Moravians in Nicaragua were dealing with terrible flooding. Then there was flooding in East Congo in the winter of 2019 and more recently dreadful flooding in Assam (June 2022). There has also been the devastation of homes by fire in December 2018 in Wuppertal (South Africa) and the destruction of homes in Goma (Congo) in May 2021 by lava flow from the nearby volcano.

Following this start up collection, the MUDRF intends to identify both internal Moravian and external international funding, including bodies that provide matching funding for disaster relief work. The plan is to first obtain a capital of 500,000 US dollars to start the fund and hope then to increase this capital amount.

A communication plan will be created within the Moravian Unity (the worldwide Moravian Church) for how to respond to disasters wherever they may occur within the Unity. This will also include the involvement of the Unity Mission Development Board (UMDB) in decision-making about and coordination of response to disasters within the provinces of the Unity, in cooperation with national and international relief agencies, and to include the delivery of resources, funds and supplies.

The objective is to establish response teams within the regions of the Unity and to provide a disaster recovery plan template for their activities. These teams will consist of Moravians experienced in disaster relief work and with good knowledge of the Region and of the Unity. This will build upon the work of the Moravian Church in the United States where some members have formed teams that helped with the rebuilding of areas after disasters such as Hurricane Katrina when it hit New Orleans.

This Unity Prayer Day collection will help to form the start-up capital as well as promote and publicise the aims and work of this new Moravian Unity Disaster Relief Fund which in the long-term could assist Moravian Provinces to seek support for disaster relief in the event of natural or manmade disasters occurring in the area of operation of the Moravian Provinces.

Editorial Team

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