CWS to Hold First Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry

( [email protected] ) Feb 14, 2004 11:48 AM EST

Church World Services, the global faith-based humanitarian and relief agency, announced that it will hold thier first Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry, Feb. 13, 2004. The four-day forum, beggining in March 27 at the Princeton Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, will address the sector of the faith-based community that works in domestic disaster response and recovery, whether the disaster is human-caused or natural.

According to the CWS Emergency Response Associate Director for Capacity Building, Bob Arnold, the "Do No Harm" Forum addresses a gap in disaster ministry education.

"Up to this point, there has been no disciplined venue to look at disaster management research and cutting-edge field activities towards informing the way disaster ministry is carried out. Through the Forum, we will identify resources that are needed to enhance disaster ministry," said Arnold.

The keynote presentation, "Mitigation and Sustainable Communities," will be made by James Lee Witt, former director of Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA). In addition, round table discussions among experienced disaster ministry professionals will enrich the gathering with ideals for implementation.

Among the first day's activities include presentations and discussions. Dennis Mileti, former director of the Natural Hazards center at the University of Colorado will present the "Overview of Key Disaster Research and Its Significance in Disaster Ministry," followed by "Participatory Action Research: Making a Practical Difference For Disaster-Vulnerable Populations.."

On the second day, the participants will focus on a Mitigation and Preparedness Track in "Public Policy in Disaster Ministry;" "Preparing Neighborhoods for Emergencies and Disaster;" and a selection of workshops entitled, "Social Enterprise and Local Sustainable Development as Disaster Ministry," "Preparing to Respond to Disaster Needs of Vulnerable Populations" and "Preventing Technological Disasters Through Public Policy."

The Third day will address a Response and Recovery Track: Community Organizing and Spiritual Care, with "Going Beyond a Ministry of Presence To Bring Order Out of Chaos," and a presentation on the CWS STAR program by Eastern Mennonite University leaders.

Day Four will identify key faith ministry capacity issues.

Participants include disaster ministry staff and volunteers from Church of the Brethren, Lutheran Disaster Response, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ (UCC), and the United Methodist Church created the event. Florence Coppola, who directs the domestic disaster response program for the UCC, chairs the work group.