Baptist Seminaries Focus Relief Efforts on NOBTS

Seminaries around the nation are currently working on a number of responses to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans and resulted in the deaths of as many as 10,000 people.

Since its adoption of a “three-tiered” approach to providing relief last Friday, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas, has been offering assistance to those affected by Katrina, including students from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), whose operations were moved to its extension campus near Atlanta, Ga., following the disaster.

A part of the approach is to offer housing and clothing assistance to the alumni and displaced students at New Orleans, according to the SWBTS news release. Southwestern also announced to dispatch disaster relief teams on the ravaged Gulf Coast, placing them under the direction of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s disaster relief coordinator.

The seminary has also established a toll free assistance line to provide information for displaced alumni and students. The number also provides information on where funds and staple items, such as non-perishable foods and toiletries, may be donated.

Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), has also focused its relief efforts on helping the New Orleans Seminary students by sending them offerings as well as teams of students to assist with cleanup efforts in the churches and homes, reported the Towers Online.

“The scope of the devastation is so wide…that we really cannot take it in,” said Southern Baptist Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in an Aug. 30 chapel service. “There ought to be something we can do to encourage them and to help them, those who may very well have lost everything.”

Another Baptist institution joining the relief efforts to the Louisiana seminary is Baylor University in Waco, Texas, which has set up a number of means by which students, faculty, staff and alumni can make contributions. Besides the common relief efforts, Baylor has implemented the effort to accept students displaced from colleges and universities with no place to go. Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary has offered to accommodate students at NOBTS for a semester while the school recovers from the massive storm.

“There is literally no way in terms of human wisdom to put this back together again, but we want to help,” said Mohler. “God’s people know that in a moment like this, the one thing that we most need to do is to place our trust in God. There’s nothing that can be done humanly speaking from here right now. No one can connect a phone cable and no one can fly down a cell phone … But we do need to pray.”