Other Churches In State Could Learn From East Texas Churches

East Texas churches are always the first to offer help during any disaster. They were prepared with food, bedding and medical care. Even so the Baptist Convention of Texas acknowledges that statewide the overall response wasn't well organized. They strive this time to be ready. Dr. Allen reed said, "The Texas Baptist Convention is trying to help churches to be better coordinated in working together especially like if a disaster were to occur along the coast. Than we would be prepared to maybe reach out to those churches in that area to help them and vice versa."

At Fredonia Hill Baptist Church there's an emergency preparedness team. The church has always been the first stop for evacuees to get directions to the closest shelter. Now the church is prepared to be a shelter as well.   David Cowee explained, "We're going to make sure we can handle them for the first 48 hours and take care of their needs until the red cross picks up and gets their things in line."

The Red Cross got help from Texas Baptist Men who provided food service during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. But the Baptist Convention says more help can be offered. Reed said, "Now what our convention is trying to do is to make churches aware that there's more available help than just that and to work with churches after the fact to continue to minister the people who have experienced disaster." The convention is wanting to help with streamlining and funding help. The assistance will be gratefully accepted, but as one church volunteer said another level of bureaucracy can sometimes get in the way of providing an immediate need.   The goal is to encourage everyone to remember the key word of the convention, 'cooperation'.