CEN and ASSIST News Combine to Help Believers Respond to Colorado Fires
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
ANTHEM, AZ (ANS) -- With hundreds of homes destroyed, tens of thousands displaced in Colorado, and now at least 3 million people on the East Coast without power in extreme heat conditions, many believers across the country may be wondering how they can help those in distress.
ASSIST News asked Mary Marr, of the Arizona-based Christian Emergency Network (CEN) www.christianemergencynetwork.org , for some practical ways American Christians can respond. ASSIST has been in partnership with CEN since the latter's inception following the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001.
Marr suggested that to become informed on emergencies such as the Colorado fires, concerned believers interested in helping should first visit the CEN website www.christianemergencynetwork.org to sign up for CEN alerts and to be kept updated on current developments.
Marr said: "Fill out your profile and let CEN know how you may assist; become a part of the CEN Wildfire 2012 online Response Group today to learn more about the incident and receive updates and prayer prompts. You may also (want to) gather with church leaders online by inviting your friends to assist if you are local."
Marr continued: "If you are not local, invite your friends from other churches in your area to respond to the fires by standing with those in Colorado Springs -- you do not need to leave your home, just respond to people in need by searching for a need by scrolling through the specific needs posted from Colorado Springs online using the national 'Meet the Need' online prompt and meet a specific need.
"You can also offer to support a CEN Church advisor who is standing by waiting for funding in order to assess the next steps in bringing the churches together for long term local recovery efforts in Colorado Springs by contacting CEN."
Marr added: "But also, today we have 3 million people on the eastern coast without power and CEN will be standing up an online response group to begin the prayer prompts for people to gather in support of the issues they are facing such as: how does someone find a cooling shelter, or reminders to help the elderly."
Marr stated: "CEN and ASSIST news are global/national, so bundling the current domestic crises, which are simultaneous, actually fits the scenario that emergency management uses -- multiple incidents causing multiple scrambles that emergency management uses -- multiple incidents causing multiple scrambles," she said.
You have a heart to respond, but now what? Here are some avenues suggested by Marr and CEN:
**Learn ways to organize churches for a community in need.
**Learn ways to connect with your local law enforcement and fire to best assist them with a response.
**Learn how to take your prayer ministry into a proactive caring ministry for the people around you.
**Learn ways to financially support emergency response efforts while keeping the Churches mission.
**Learn ways to continue your ministry going in your community no matter what happens.
Marr said: "CEN will host regular conference calls on ways you can effectively assist others in need during emergencies large and small. Simply, sign up at www.chrsitianemergencynetwork.org 'conference call' newsletters and invite your pastor or outreach leader to the call with you."
Marr said that CEN will show your family, your church and your city how to effectively respond the needs in your community during times of crisis and disaster.
CEN will equip and point you to the resources needed to respond even if your church has 30 people or 6,000 people. "We are stronger together," Marr said.
Taking Action: Staying informed. "CEN will show you how to get started," said Marr. The website has more details on this.
The CEN website also shows how one Arizona City came together for a unified response, Marr said.
Check out the CEN website at www.christianemergencynetwork.org to get started in training, preparing, and responding.
You can also follow news on how fellow believers are responding to these disasters by logging-on to ASSIST News at www.assistnews.net
** Michael Ireland is the Senior International Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in g ood standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior International Reporter