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ARDF tsunami relief effort picks up steam

First grants made, nearly a quarter million donated in January

In its first three weeks, the Anglican Relief and Development Fund’s (ARDF) appeal to help survivors of the December 26 Southeast Asian tsunami has processed more than $185,000 in cash donations and received reports that suggest giving totals will soon cross the quarter million dollar mark. The fund has already begun distributing grants to those working in the damaged areas.

“We’re working to identify and fund effective grass-roots Anglican relief efforts that are already active in the areas affected by the tsunami,” said Kerk Burbank, ARDF’s executive director. “Everyone involved in ARDF has been tremendously encouraged by the outpouring of support for those struggling to survive in Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka,” he added.

First grants going to India, Indonesia

On January 17, ARDF awarded its first disaster relief grant of up to $25,000 to the Church of South India (CSI) through The Bridge Foundation, an Opportunity International affiliate working with CSI in the heavily damaged Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh coastal regions. One portion of that grant will go to replace Christian fishermen’s boats destroyed by the tsunami. Another portion of the grant will go to retired CSI Bishop Dharmaraj, Canon Vinay Samuel, and his wife Colleen Samuel, who have collected 5,000 orphans from the tsunami-affected areas and arranged for them to be cared for. More information about the work of the Bridge Foundation and Bishop Dharmaraj is available by clicking here.

“This is the first of many grants,” said Burbank. “Currently, two Anglican groups are developing specific requests to ARDF from Indonesia. One is from an Episcopalian living in the Aceh area working with a team of Indonesian Christians and the other is from a Singaporean mission church working directly in the Aceh area.”

“Some reports suggest that there is enough emergency food and clothing in the pipeline or on site to sustain life for the survivors in most areas,” said the Very Rev. Peter Moore, recently retired Dean President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and the Chairman of the Board for ARDF. “However, disease prevention, grief counseling, and the lengthy and serious business of re-building lives, homes, and businesses are becoming the major tasks now. In many places, lack of shelter is a serious concern which will become worse in months to come as the rainy Monsoon season approaches in April,” he added.

Congregation gives $50,000

Financial support for the ARDF’s efforts continues to pour in. So far, ARDF’s largest donation to aid in tsunami relief came from a single offering at a single parish. The church, St. Helena’s Episcopal Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, collected more than $40,000 in a single offering and has given a total of $50,000 to tsunami relief. “We started opening the envelopes and there it was,” said the Rev. Frank Limehouse, rector of the parish. According to Limehouse, the tremendous generosity of congregation members began in St. Helena’s Episcopal Christian Women’s chapter, which purchased a $10,000 water purification unit in the name of ARDF.

Reformed Episcopal Church joins effort

Others in the Anglican tradition are also rallying around ARDF’s relief effort. Presiding Bishop Leonard Riches, of the Reformed Episcopal Church, is encouraging congregations of that portion of the Anglican family to support ARDF. The Reformed Episcopal Church, which has more than 140 congregations in the United States, was one of six groups in the Anglican tradition that made common cause with the Anglican Communion Network last summer.

Online giving available

Click on the link above to donate via PayPal

To simplify donations to ARDF’s tsunami relief efforts, donors now have the option of giving online. “The service, called PayPal, can safely and securely route donations to the ARDF using any major credit card,” said Burbank. Those that use this new feature should note “ARDF — Asian Crisis” in the digital memo line to ensure that the donation is processed correctly.

The ARDF is still happy to take contributions by check. Checks should be made payable to the “Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes” or simply “NACDP” and sent to Anglican Relief & Development Fund, 905 Oliver Building, 535 Smithfield St. Pittsburgh, PA 15222, with a memo line notation of “ARDF — Asian Crisis.” The Network is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.

The Anglican Relief and Development Fund was launched in September 2004 as a channel for Anglican donors in the United States to contribute to Anglican churches in the Global South. Bishop Robert Duncan serves as President of the ARDF and an ex-officio board member.

Posted at 12:00 am 1.28.2005 | Permalink