The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is standing by to help after storm-induced tornadoes killed at least 24 people and damaged close to 150 buildings, including several churches, in Middle Tennessee early Tuesday morning.
CBF’s expertise is in long-term recovery that typically begins after first-responders leave and continues for years after tragic events. But officials said they will help immediately if called upon.
“While we are not equipped or tasked with disaster relief, we will respond with disaster recovery efforts as requested by our partner congregations in the region and with the assistance of CBF Global’s Disaster Response Network,” said Rick Bennett, CBF Tennessee field coordinator.
Bennett added that he has checked in with CBF Tennessee’s partner churches and congregations in Nashville and the surrounding area since the twister struck.
“All are in good condition with no reported injuries,” he said.
CBF Disaster Response Ministries posted a request for disaster response donations on Facebook accompanied by a statement that it will help CBF Tennessee when requested.
Churches and other faith-based groups who specialize in immediate disaster response are already at work.
The Salvation Army said on Twitter it is deploying teams to the region to provide immediate assistance, and requested donations to support their operation.
Tennessee Baptists, who reported six damaged churches, also are mobilizing.
“We have local teams that have already gotten out and are trying to help people in Nashville and the surrounding area,” according to the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s disaster relief agency. “Meanwhile we are working with emergency management services to better understand where we can deploy resources.”
United Methodist teams were in action before sunrise Tuesday, Bill McAlilly, bishop of the UMC’s Nashville area, said in a statement posted online.
Three Nashville UMC congregations were damaged by the tornado.
“As we continue to assess damages to churches, homes and businesses, our hearts and minds are with the families of those whose lives have been lost,” McAlilly said.