PRESENTE in Puerto Rico
Rev. Julia Brown Karimu, President of the Division of Overseas Ministries and Global Ministries Co-Executive participated along with the Rev. Angel L. Rivera-Agosto, Global Ministries Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean were invited to participate in a meeting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico´s Administrative Board November 25th. During the session of the Administrative Board, the accompaniment and solidarity of Global Ministries through the humanitarian crisis on the island following Hurricane María was recognized and appreciated by the Disciples in Puerto Rico. Rev. Julia Brown Karimu had the opportunity to address the two hundred delegates from churches, pastors, and leaders from the Church in Puerto Rico, affirming the history of both churches walking together in mission.
Also, as part of the visit, they participated in the Joint Commission Meeting of both U.S. and Puerto Rico churches the afternoon of the 25th. The Joint Commission was created in the early ‘80s as an initiative sponsored by both U.S. and Puerto Rico churches to address common issues on mission, partnership, and relations between both churches. There they had the opportunity of presenting reports about the work of Global Ministries throughout the world and specifically in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Later on that week, a delegation composed of representatives of the Latin America and the Caribbean Office of Global Ministries, Week of Compassion, and UCC Disaster Ministries visited projects and Partners on the island. Particularly, they had the opportunity to visit the Ryder Hospital in Humacao, the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico, and two communities in Bayamón and Naranjito related to the work of Amaneser 2025. They also had talks with the leadership of the Federal Emergency Management Program in order to verify the provision of resources to help the neediest among the people affected by the hurricane.
From the visit, we can conclude that partners have been active in their solidarity with congregations, families, and individuals in the community where they work. Global Ministries and its sister organizations have expressed their commitment to continue strengthening the capacity of partners to continue responding to the needs of the people in Puerto Rico. First aid and disaster relief is getting into communities of deep need. Financing and channeling resources for the acquisition and distribution of water filters, tarps and other articles by partners there has been crucial. Ryder Hospital has been providing medical services even with its huge loss and damages. The Evangelical Seminary has been accompanying the seminarians and the community of Río Piedras. In the meantime, we continue affirming our commitment with Puerto Rico, in the long-term recovery planning and action, along with a self-sustainable project for communities, especially in the rural areas. Urban areas they will be getting electricity and water supply shortly – months after the hurricane. In rural areas it won´t be nearly as easy as in the cities.
Global Ministries and its sister organizations embraced the people and engaged into heartfelt dialogues through their visits to churches and communities. Beyond the aid and the resources that we are putting into the island, it was crucial to say “PRESENTE” in the midst of the destruction and the damages of Hurricane María, for the short term crisis and, also, in the long-term recovery.