By Douwe Visser
The Partnership Fund of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is best known for its support of mission and development projects proposed by member churches. Perhaps less well-known is WCRC’s tradition of supporting member churches affected by disasters. In such situations, the member church does not need to apply for help first. Once it is known that there is an emergency affecting a member church, WCRC’s General Secretary sends a direct message to the church often offering financial support from the Partnership Fund’s emergency response portfolio.
There are some conditions which apply to this form of assistance. The church must reply to the General Secretary’s message by submitting a request for support. The maximum amount of the contribution is set at $11,000 and the church has six months after receiving the funds in which to file a report of how the donation was spent.
• In 2010 large pieces of land in central Uganda were damaged because of mudslides after heavy rain. Five thousand five hundred dollars was sent to the Reformed Christian Centre, Uganda, to help clean up the area and assist the community in rebuilding.
• Also in 2010 there were heavy rains in Pakistan. Many parts of the country were flooded and villages were destroyed. Five thousand five hundred dollars was given in support of relief efforts by the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan.
• In 2011 crops in Burma (also known as Myanmar) were infested by a rat plague. Five thousand five hundred dollars was sent to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Myanmar to help the community in pest control.
These are just some examples of the many occasions on which WCRC has offered disaster assistance. On average, help is offered four times a year. WCRC is please to offer this sign of solidarity that makes the Communion visible in caring for its members.