WORK WEEK IN NEW ORLEANS
Take a look at American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) website at www.abnhms.org next week for daily updates from this year’s “Home Mission: ‘Til the Work is Done” ecumenical work week in New Orleans.
Featured are photographs and comments from volunteers helping to rebuild New Orleans by painting, laying sheet rock, cutting grass and tending community gardens, among a variety of other activities, July 31 to August 6. In addition, volunteers will be provided the opportunity to minister to and worship with residents.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. In response, ABHMS has been coordinating the annual week-long volunteer effort since 2006. Since 2007, ABHMS has been partnering with local nonprofit organizations, such as Camp Restore, Lower 9th Ward for Sustainable Engagement and Development and, now, Lower 9 Resilient, to work throughout the city of New Orleans. Rick, Dona, and Betsy went in 2007 with a larger group from the Bay Area and worked in the Music Village.
NEW PASTOR INSTALLED AT ABHMS-SPONSORED WOMEN’S PRISON
On June 25, the Reverend Dr. Kimberly LaPlante was installed as new pastor of the Church of Hope, which is housed inside South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre, South Dakota. The only American Baptist church inside a prison, Church of Hope has a church council and a vital congregation that gathers several times weekly for worship, Bible study, and fellowship. LaPlante had been called by the church’s steering committee. Close to 100 inmates attended the installation service, conducted by Church of Hope leaders.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is a major supporter of Church of Hope, having provided financial and ministerial leadership assistance since the church’s founding in July 1997.
INTERRELIGIOUS FOUNDATION FOR COMMUNITY ORGANIZING (IFCO)
After almost 50 years, IFCO continues its visits to Cuba in spite of the US blockade. Also known as Pastors for Peace and the Cuba Blockade, IFCO promotes ELAM, a Medical School Project, where future medical doctors from the US and Puerto Rico get their training through medical school on a 7-year program. Another group of 10 students from the US will attend the Latin America School of Medicine on full scholarships; after returning to the US, they will take their licensing exams and find a hospital in which to do their residency. Eventually they will return to practice in underserved communities in the US.
Friendshipments have been sponsored almost yearly, since 1992, and FBCPA has participated in shipments to both Nicaragua and Cuba under the leadership of the late Lucius Walker. The 27th US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan will continue and will share new information about changes in US-Cuba relations. The blockade is not over and IFCO will focus on US policy toward Cuba. For more about IFCO, see ifconews.org/
For a great collection of photos of Cuba taken by Susan Bradley, take a look at Susan’s pictures lining the hallway in the FBCPA educational wing.