More than 200 evangelical leaders from 17 nations gathered in Manila, Philippines last 16-20 September 2013 for a consultation on disaster risk reduction and management.
I had the privilege of being invited as a plenary speaker during the first morning of the conference to present a biblical-theological framework for disaster risk reduction and management based on Shalom Theology. They also requested that I tell the stories of disaster response by PBCI during the super typhoon Pablo that hit southeastern Mindanao in December 2012.
Various disaster risk reduction experts from different parts of the world presented their stories and analyses based on their experiences in disaster response. Those presentations include lessons learned from the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake in India; 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake that caused tsunamis in the coastal areas of Southeast Asia; the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake in China, the 2011 Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima, Japan; the 2011 Flash Floods in Northern Mindanao and the 2012 Super Typhoon in Southeastern Mindanao, Philippines.
The consultation was sponsored by the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) in partnership with World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Micah Network, Humanitarian International, Integral, Wheaton College, Far East Broadcasting Company, and Philippine Relief and Development Services.
Through various workshops and other group processes, the participants were able to come up with a statement at the end of the consultation:
A COMMITMENT TO SOLIDARITY IN RESPONDING TO DISASTER
Seventeen (17) nations gathered in solidarity in Manila, Philippines, 16-20 September 2013 to seek and share together how we can be more effective in our whole community response to risk crises and disaster management.
God is making all things new and has called the Church to love expressed through unity of purpose and action.
Disasters expose the vulnerability of creation and the systemic injustices that remain in the world. We recognize the desperate need for the transforming work of God’s Church.
In recognition that the Church is called to reflect the character of Christ by engaging in transforming mission and faithful presence, we commit:
:: To a SOLIDARITY OF PURPOSE that demonstrates the character of the Church by collaborating intentionally with each other in integrity, humility, and goodwill, recognizing the dignity and inherent value of all;
:: To a SOLIDARITY OF PROCESS by advancing complete and transparent good practices of disaster management, including the wise and ethical stewardship of personal, corporate, and financial resources;
:: To SOLIDARITY OF CONSEQUENCE by holding ourselves, our community, our leaders, and our governments accountable before God and one another;
:: To a SOLIDARITY OF PASSION as advocates for justice, equality, dignity, and the transformation of persons, communities, and society;
SO AS TO MAKE MANIFEST GOD’S SHALOM.
Hope you will draw upon this group for a helpful concerted response with best practices for the current Haiyan hurricane. What a timely conference from God!