GULF COAST of Louisiana (BP)--The Louisiana Baptist Convention will begin dispatching disaster relief chaplains to the oil-beleaguered Gulf Coast areas of the state beginning June 7.
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"We received a request June 2" from emergency management officials "and we are sending 12 DR chaplains a week for the next few months or as long as needed," said Gibbie McMillan, disaster relief director for the Louisiana convention. "They will be in Grande Isle, Venice, etc."
James Carson, the convention's DR chaplaincy coordinator and director of missions for Caldwell, Deer Creek and Richland Baptist associations, followed up June 2 by contacting the regional DR chaplaincy coordinator, Joe Arnold, who is director of missions for Bayou Baptist Association just north of the Gulf, to alert DR chaplains in the area to prepare to be called out the week of June 7.
"Everyone is engaged in vigorous conversation," said Duane McDaniel, executive director of the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. "Everyone recognizes that there is a disaster unfolding, and we're just seeing the tip of the wellhead [of need]. We'll be dealing with the devastation for the long term."
A gathering of SBC disaster relief coordinators from the entire Gulf Coast region has been called for the week of June 7.
"We know what to do with hurricanes, but this manmade disaster has hidden victims," Arnold said. "This is going to be a long-term thing -- we're talking years.... Right now the tension is so touchy down there [at the water's edge]. There's a lot of frustration."
"Everything is just too fluid to see how it's going to play out," said Eddie Painter, commercial fisherman and pastor of Barataria (La.) Baptist Church. "Everybody's pretty tense." Read More