"Feeding the huNgry is a greater work than raising the dead." ~ St. John Chrysostom
After the November 2019 Parish Council meeting, St. Anthony The Great Orthodox Church signed an agreement with the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) to form a ministry that will work using the IOCC Homefront Preparedness Guidelines as our template, devoted to being better prepared for any natural disasters or other emergencies which might befall our St. Anthony community. In early January of 2020, our pastor Fr. Anthony Baba commissioned a new ministry team, the Disaster Prevention And Response Ministry (DPARM), also known as the Homefront Preparedness Ministry.
Our location on the Gulf Coast where hurricanes are common, and the Houston area specifically, which is prone to flooding, places us at risk. Other risks that are more local and narrower in scope also exist such as house fires, burglaries, job loss, and sudden illness or injury. It will be this ministry's task to look at all of these risks, help to prevent the preventable ones, and mitigate as best as possible those which are unpreventable.
While the St. Anthony Homefront Preparedness Ministry is technically composed of smaller focused teams* devoted to specific areas, for practical purposes this ministry includes every person in this congregation. During a disaster, every one of us can help even if only in a small way - kids can write uplifting notes, infirm can help with phone calls or data entry, etc. And everyone can pray for our family of parishioners and for our neighbors in need. Our goal is, in the words of the IOCC Guidelines, to "respond, without discrimination, to those who are suffering and in need, to enable them to continue to improve their own lives and communities and to have means to live with dignity, respect, and hope."
*(Current teams: Safety & Security, Property & Equipment, Supplies, Pastoral Care, First Aid, Response & Recovery, and Logistics).
In times of distress, God provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate the selfless, sacrificial love of Christ to those longing for hope.