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The Great River Region is a ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) which seeks to build up the Body of Christ and strengthen the ministries of Disciples of Christ congregations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.  Focused on discernment of God's call in each of our lives, congregations and shared ministries, we work through regional staff, congregational leaders, and denominational ministries to bring God's love and redeeming grace to the point of greatest need. (Eph. 4:11-16, Micah 6:8, Acts 1:6-8)

From Nadine Burton, Interim Regional Minister:

Greetings Great River Region:  We are up to 28 families who have been displaced. FCC Baton Rouge is in need of air mattresses, pillows, blankets, and linen. These items will help with immediate needs throughout the end of the month. Once the families get back into their homes, they will not be able to use the beds. They can use these items now in the shelters and when they go back to their homes. You can mail these items directly to the FCC Baton Rouge: 8484 Old Hammond Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70809.

I am heading to Baton Rouge on Saturday after preaching at a revival at Indianola CC in Mississippi. If you are in the central Arkansas area and can drop some items by the Regional Office by 10 am on Thursday morning, I will deliver them to Baton Rouge. Please call the GRR Regional Office at 501-562-5063 so we know you're coming! 

From Rev. David Chisham, FCC Baton Rouge

Dear family and friends of First Christian,

Today has been a busy day for many of us. A number of our family have been able to get back into their homes. The good news is that several found their homes untouched by water. The bad news, as we've been able to contact more of our members, is that we've added to our list of those with flood damage. At this point we are aware of 28 homes of members who were evacuated, of those we've confirmed that 22 homes were damaged, some with a few inches, some with upwards of four feet of water, and there remain a few more homes that we've been unable to confirm.

For those reading this update out of town, many families are pulling up carpets and drywall at this time. If you'd like to volunteer to help, you could quickly find any number of people who would appreciate your help in this important, and terrible, task. However, as our facilities and most hotel rooms are already occupied, volunteers would need to be relatively self-sufficient, coming in either an RV or camper or otherwise securing lodging ahead of time.

RED CROSS WORKERS NOW BEING HOUSED AT FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Red Cross volunteers dropped off cots and blankets, and out of town volunteers have begun to arrive on our campus just this evening. So far I've met volunteers from North Carolina, Wisconsin and South Dakota. When I checked this evening it looked like about 20 or so we spending the night in our make-shift shelter. Volunteers from First Christian and St. Paul Lutheran have done an excellent job converting the Fellowship Hall into a welcoming space (see the picture above).

DONATION IDEA--AIRBEDS
Many have asked about what donated items would be helpful. Since our stores are open and being replenished, small items like toiletries are not in demand--we can easily buy those. Shelters have enough clothing and food. I've thought about this and spoken with others, and think that donations of pillows, airbeds and sheets would be an excellent choice. These could be used immediately in the shelters, and as people return home and have to throw out furniture ruined by water, an airbed would be very helpful to have while awaiting replacement furnishings. Additionally, these will likely be in short supply in our local stores. If you would like to donate these items, they can be shipped to the church and we can distribute them through the church or send them on to the Red Cross to be distributed to the community.

LIFE IS FRAGILE, GOD IS FAITHFUL
As I've spoken with friends and members and survivors over the past few days, time and again I've heard stories of how quickly the waters rose. In houses that seemed secure at sunset, the knock on the door in the middle of the night, or waking up to find water already in the house, were frightening reminders of how quickly life's circumstances change and how fragile life is. In the midst of these storms that have tossed our city again and again and again, we can be sure that God walks with us, even through the darkest of valleys.

May God's grace and generosity be seen in our lives!

Christ's peace,
David

From Week of Compassion

Heavy rains that began on August 11 and continued through the weekend have caused historic flooding in south Louisiana, especially around the Baton Rouge area. By Monday morning, more than 20,000 residents had evacuated their homes. Among those who have evacuated are 27 families from First Christian Church, Baton Rouge.
 
According to Rev. David Chisham, pastor of FCCBR, no in-kind donations are needed at this moment. Instead, we encourage financial gifts, which can be used to meet immediate needs as they arise. As the church prepares to be a host site in partnership with the Red Cross, they are organizing volunteers for food prep, janitorial support, and laundry service.
 
Week of Compassion has been in regular contact with Rev. Chisham and Regional Minister, Rev. Nadine Burton. We have provided a grant to help meet the immediate needs of evacuees and will offer additional support as the extent of the damage becomes clear. Rev. Chisham told Week of Compassion Associate Director, Rev. Caroline Hamilton-Arnold: "The numbers of those affected continues to rise as the mass of water moves south. Houses that were dry one day are full of water the next. We look forward to supporting our greater community, and God has been faithful in providing resources for us to respond to the need."

Additionally, with support from Week of Compassion, Children’s Disaster Services is deploying two teams of specialists to Baton Rouge. CDS associate director Kathy Fry-Miller reports: "They will be able to care for evacuated children in two shelters.”
 
To support flood relief in Louisiana, donate online by clicking here and designate your gift for US Storms and Fires.

Regional Assembly online registration is now open!!  Click here


Mission First!  addresses the need to find a new shared focus in mission and seeks to help Disciples identify the next mission priorities God has for us as we move toward the year 2020 and beyond.

Read About the Process

What you can do now

Mission Gathering Dates:
The Great River Region is moving full steam ahead with plans for Mission Gatherings this spring and summer. 
We have the following Gatherings confirmed:

September 13 at 5:30 pm - First Christian Church in Tupelo, MS

Please RSVP to the Host Church if you are planning on attending.

We are still looking for volunteers to work with the Mission First Initiative. If you are interested in serving as a host church, please contact the Regional Office. 

We want to offer you another tool to promote Mission Gatherings.  A one and a half minute animated video has been put together that will help better understand what will happen at a Mission Gathering.

YouTube: Mission Gathering video

File download: http://missionfirst.disciples.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/MissionGatheringPromo-DL.mp4



Support YOUR Regional
Annual Fund Drive
donations can be sent to:
Great River Region
9302 Geyer Springs Rd
Little Rock, AR  72209

Our logo was created in 2001 by Rev. Bill Mackie who at the time served FCC Baton Rouge.  It is based on a drawing by Jeanette Odom Rodriguez who was 14 at the time.  Her concept for our logo included an explanation that the rivers in our states remind us of our baptism and that the Mississippi River, the Great River, once divided us and now unites us by touching the length of each state as it travels to the Gulf.


GRR Office Hours
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
(501) 562-6053
(501) 562-7089, fax