One disaster, many responders

PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (BP)--Georgia Baptists were among the first responders to the sugar refinery disaster in coastal Georgia and served in a variety of volunteer roles, said Ted Kandler, a Savannah-based ministry resource consultant with the Georgia convention.

Those on site shortly after the explosion, offering counseling and related ministries, included Sam Self of First Baptist Church in Port Wentworth; Otis Hill of First Baptist Church in Pooler; Darrel Bailey of First Baptist Church in Bloomingdale, who also serves as a chaplain with the Bloomingdale Police Department; and associational missionary Steve Sells.

Savannah pastors who were sent directly to hospitals to minister to the injured and their families included Alan Bosson of Southside Baptist Church; Calvin Webb of Ardsley Park Baptist Church; Jim Staubes of Skidaway Island Baptist Church; Ken Jernigan of Cresthill Baptist Church; and John Connell of Calvary Baptist Church. Randall Frantz, minister of youth and education at First Baptist Church in Garden City, served in a variety of locations as a volunteer chaplain for the Garden City Police Department.

While the explosion occurred in Port Wentworth, much of the ministry has now shifted to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, where churches are bringing meals to families of 13 burn victims. Georgia Baptist churches known to be participating in the community ministry include Hillcrest Baptist Church, Warren Baptist Church, Abilene Baptist Church and National Hills Baptist Church.

First Baptist Church of Rincon will host a community service of prayer and healing at 6 p.m. on March 2.


Joe Westbury is managing editor of The Christian Index, newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

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