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“Rebuilding the Gulf Coast, One Community at a Time.”

Thursday, September 1, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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NZ Bear has decided to keep his focus on the massive participation of bloggers in the blogging for relief effort through the end of the long weekend. It isn’t reasonable to keep Glenn tied to his typepad
through Monday night (what yeoman’s –er, yeobloggers’ service these two have provided) but we can all keep posting links to Glenn’s massive link list today and NZ’s site to keep our audiences focused on the variety of ways to respond to the disaster.

In a column for tomorrow’s WeeklyStandard.com, “Rebuilding the Gulf Coast, One Community at a Time,” I announce that NZ has agreed to help me launch an experiment that hopes to use the internet’s capacity plus the talent and good will of bloggers to match specialized needs with specialized volunteers. I have been thinking this through all week, and am convinced that the epic nature of the loss, and the daunting challenge of rebuilding the incredibly complex communities of the three states will not be possible via top-down direction once the essential crisis needs are met. A new model is possible, and the web will allow it to happen.

One example. The Presbyterian Church, USA has a long and pretty good record of responding to disasters. At the website for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance there is a letter to interested volunteers which is straight out of the old top-down model. It boils down to “tell us if you have a team of volunteers, and we’ll match you to a need in the next few months.”

In the days of restricted information flows, this approach made sense. It doesn’t anymore.

Assume there are 10,000 Presbyterian Church, USA congregations around the country, and 100 in the devastated regions. Rather than a group of people in Louisville collecting –and controlling– info flow, the PCUSA headquarters team ought to post a list of the churches in the area on the web, and ask the PCUSA’s 9,900 other congregations
to select one of the 100 and establish contact. Sure, some of the affected churches would get more responses than they need, but very, very quickly, each of the distressed church’s staff would have between ten and 100 PCUSA partner congregations around the country upon which they could call for needs and prayer. Right now. Not three months from now. By weekend’s end.

Right now people urgently want to help –want to establish contact with victims and volunteers in the area. If facilitated right away, those connections will mature and deepen into hugely effective networks. Only headquarters will have to give up control to make it happen, though as MarkDRoberts’ congregation’s quick embrace of Canal Street Presbyterian Church in the heart of New Orleans demonstrates, motivated churches and innovative pastors and lay leaders are unlikely to wait for direction from HQ on how to proceed.

Though this will be very threatening to heirarchies, I hope that they will quickly see the extraordinary value to be gained by stepping out of the way and encouraging such self-organizing partnerships as a means of really getting the work begun now, and crucially, getting hope kindled quickly in these devastated communities.

It is fine and a little reassuring to know that Louisville is committed to working on the project.

It would be so much more encouraging to have the names of the churches, the e-mails from the pastors and staff, the concrete promise of financial and other forms of assistance flowing in, and the names of prayer partners. That’s concrete. That is so much more real than knowledge that a committee is collecting names of volunteers.

Time is of the essence. In fact, if congregations matched with congregations right now, some families without a place to stay might find themselves a home for the next few months. All sorts of needs could be met once the connections get established.

The same dynamic will apply in a thousand different settings. Now if only the old heirarchies who enjoy their status and their control realize there is a much better way of doing things.

More tomorrow. Mark Roberts has a post up on the subject. I would love to hear from folks directly on what they think of the idea, and perhaps some suggestions on design that NZ can mull. My e-mail is hugh@hughhewitt.com. Another pastor has asked me to solicit need requests from unaffilaited churches along with key facts about the congregation, such as size and mission. I’ll post what comes my way as NZ works on the page.

UPDATE:

I am proud that the Chapman University Law School where I teach is opening its doors to some of the law students displaced by the disaster. I am sorry to see that my alma mater, the University of Michigan Law School, is not yet listed.

I am pleased that at least one Ivy has opened its doors, Cornell, to displaced undergrads. I am shocked that my alma mater, the richest university in the world, Harvard, does not appear to have invited any students of any sort to take refuge there.

HedgeHogBlog’s big law firm has staked $100,000 in an employee matching fund. I hope Lowell publicizes those other big firms that follow this lead.

And when will a politican dip into their campaign funds to add to the relief efforts? When such a transfer occurs, send me a link.

I am getting scores of e-mails asking me to blast away at the collective scream at George W. Bush raging through some of the lefty blogs, some Air America talkers, and some MSM talking heads. For the time being when there is so much immediate need, I think that most of my time and effort is best spent on mobilizing as much support and publicizing as much innovation as possible. Time enough to deal with the absurd charges later. After the emergencies are dealt with, the scale of the effort and the vastness of the response will speak for itself, and the failures of various structures will get vetted.

I will simply note that I am confident that many of these critics will find themselves in a position very similar to that of many of the speakers and most of the crowd at the memorial service for Senator Paul Wellstone in the fall of 2002. The speakers and the crowd that night were full of passion and conviction. They were sure they were right, and the echoes of applause and cheering came back at them and they were convinced they had made huge persuasive points with America. I am sure Jack Cafferty and many other of what Michelle Malkin called the “arm chair first responders” on the program today are quite certain of their own virtue, the president’s terrible culpability, the impeachment that will surely follow, and the political realignment this will all lead to.

They are sure of it.

I am sure they are having their memorial service moment, and that the country is indeed watching everything very, very closely, and drawing very different lessons about who they would want managing the relief effort if disaster comes to their city or region.

Time will of course tell.

But the one thing that is truly low is the diminshment of the heroics that have been underway since early Monday morning and which continue at this hour, whether in the Coast Guard helicopters, the patrols of National Guardsmen in the city who have been there on duty for for hours and hours already, for the engineers scrambling to find a fix, for the bus drivers and the Dome workers, the medical personnel and the thousands of unnamed, unselfish, and now slighted federal, state, and local workers who are giving their all.

Arthur Chrenkoff is keeping a list. (HT: Powerline)

UPDATE 2:

Here’s a list of churches in the Biloxi and Mobile areas that copuld no doubt use recovery partners. (thanks to George E. of Scottsdale for doing the work of compiling this list.) Call and write first, but I have to think they’d welcome the kindess of strangers via checks and future efforts:

Abundant Life Evangelistic Center

172 Rodenberg Av

(228) 436-6255

Biloxi, MS

Amazing Grace Baptist Church

1783 Pass Rd

(228) 432-7050

Biloxi, MS

Apostolic Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church

105 Mcdonnell Av

(228) 432-5033

Biloxi, MS

Assembly Cedar Lake Christian

11555 Cedar Lake Rd

(228) 392-6279

Biloxi, MS

Back Bay

308 Iroquois St

(228) 436-0684

Biloxi, MS

Back Bay Mission United Church Of Christ

1012 Division St

(228) 432-0301

Biloxi, MS

Bay Vista Baptist Church

2485 Pass Rd

(228) 388-1166 Web Site

Biloxi, MS

Beauvoir United Methodist Church

2113 Pass Rd

(228) 388-1478

Biloxi, MS

Bethel Lutheran Church Elca

2521 Pass Rd

(228) 388-1226

Biloxi, MS

Biloxi Christian Church

14800 Big Ridge Rd

(228) 875-0506

Biloxi, MS

Biloxi Islamic Center

205 Keller Av

(228) 432-7650

Biloxi, MS

Calvary Gulf Coast

9259 Woolmarket Rd

(228) 872-7764

Biloxi, MS

Calvary Gulf Coast

792 Vieux Marche Mall

(228) 267-9673

Biloxi, MS

Church Of Christ

173 Rodenberg Av

(228) 432-7372

Biloxi, MS

Church Of Christ Division St

810 Division St

(228) 435-7203

Biloxi, MS

Church Of God-Biloxi

330 Randall Dr

(228) 388-7664

Biloxi, MS

Church Of Vietnamese Martarys

163 Oak St

(228) 374-1116

Biloxi, MS

Coalville United Methodist Church

12298 Shorecrest Rd

(228) 392-5970

Biloxi, MS

Coast Community Church

8324 Woolmarket Rd

(228) 392-2087

Biloxi, MS

Cross Roads Baptist Church

17480 Lamey Bridge Rd

(228) 392-5511

Biloxi, MS

East Howard Baptist Church

241 Howard Av

(228) 432-1022

Biloxi, MS

Edgewater Christian Fellowship

2750 Mission Ln

(228) 388-7660

Biloxi, MS

Emmanuel Baptist Church

341 Rodenberg Av

(228) 432-7136

Biloxi, MS

Emmanuel Baptist Church Of Faith

282 Reynoir St

(228) 374-5100

Biloxi, MS

Episcopal Church Of The Redeemer

610 Water St

(228) 436-3123

Biloxi, MS

Faith Obedience Baptist Church

136 Comfort Pl

(228) 435-2185

Biloxi, MS

First Baptist Church-Biloxi

1560 Popps Ferry Rd

(228) 396-8500

Biloxi, MS

First Faith Missionary Baptist

996 Iroquois St

(228) 436-6520

Biloxi, MS

First Korean Presbyterian Church

1340 Beach Blvd

(228) 432-8573

Biloxi, MS

First Missionary Baptist Church

658 Esters Blvd

(228) 432-7295

Biloxi, MS

First Pentecostal Church Of Biloxi

1907 Popps Ferry Rd

(228) 385-1001

Biloxi, MS

First Presbyterian Church Pca

1340 Beach Blvd

(228) 374-6880 Web Site

Biloxi, MS

First United Methodist Church

124 Hopkins Blvd

(228) 436-4371 Web Site

Biloxi, MS

Grace Bible Church

1211 Father Ryan Av

(228) 432-0151

Biloxi, MS

Greater Grace Apostolic Assembly

394 Forrest Av

(228) 432-0026

Biloxi, MS

Greater Grace Apostolic Assembly

394 Forrest Av

(228) 432-0042

Biloxi, MS

Greater St John African Methodist Episcopal Church

551 Division St

(228) 432-2874

Biloxi, MS

Greek Orthodox Church Of The Holy Trinity

255 Beauvoir Rd

(228) 388-6138

Biloxi, MS

Gulf Coast Family Church Of The Nazarene

14700 Big Ridge Rd

(228) 875-0860 Web Site

Biloxi, MS

Heritage Baptist Church

15368 Hwy 67

(228) 392-1961

Biloxi, MS

Korean Baptist Church

337 Forrest Av

(228) 432-7672

Biloxi, MS

Larue Baptist Church

19405 Old Biloxi Rd

(228) 392-9934

Biloxi, MS

Leggett United Methodist Church

1410 Beach Blvd

(228) 432-8213

Biloxi, MS

Lighthouse Apostolic

769 Division St

(228) 374-0099

Biloxi, MS

Lighthouse Baptist Church

7226 Gorenflo Rd

(228) 392-7184

Biloxi, MS

Mcclellan Road Baptist Church

15020 Mcclelland Rd

(228) 392-5239

Biloxi, MS

Nance Temple Church Of God In Christ

311 Main St

(228) 435-2033

Biloxi, MS

Nativity Of Bvm Cathedral

870 Howard Av

(228) 374-1717

Biloxi, MS

New Bethel Baptist Church

255 Main St

(228) 432-8320

Biloxi, MS

New Community Missionary Baptist Church

325 Nixon St

(228) 435-4300

Biloxi, MS

New Division St Baptist Church

676 Division St

(228) 435-7400

Biloxi, MS

New Life Family Church

362 Popps Ferry Rd

(228) 388-5183

Biloxi, MS

Northside Assembly Of God Church

14901 Lemoyne Blvd

(228) 392-3263

Biloxi, MS

Oremus Pro Invicem

~ Biloxi

(228) 435-1522

Biloxi, MS

Popps Ferry Baptist Church

2000 Popps Ferry Rd

(228) 388-9172

Biloxi, MS

Prince Of Peace Baptist Church

14436 Hudson-Krohn Rd

(228) 392-3532

Biloxi, MS

Salvation Army

379 Howard Av

(228) 374-8301

Biloxi, MS

Seashore Mission United Methodist Church

420 Howard Av

(228) 435-5385

Biloxi, MS

Springer Paul D

1907 Popps Ferry Rd

(228) 385-1001

Biloxi, MS

St John’s Catholic Church

724 Bradford St

(228) 374-0117

Biloxi, MS

St John’s Catholic Church

910 Lameuse St

(228) 436-4824

Biloxi, MS

St Mary’s Catholic Church

8343 Woolmarket Rd

(228) 392-7500

Biloxi, MS

St Mary’s Catholic Church

8343 Woolmarket Rd

(228) 392-1999

Biloxi, MS

St Michael’s Church

177 1st St

(228) 435-5578

Biloxi, MS

St Paul United Methodist Church

696 Washington Loop

(228) 432-0247

Biloxi, MS

Temple Baptist Church

1860 Popps Ferry Rd

(228) 388-3077

Biloxi, MS

Trinity Baptist Church

156 Camellia St

(228) 388-4818

Biloxi, MS

Trinity Bible Church At River Oaks

9095 W Oaklawn Rd

(228) 392-6202

Biloxi, MS

Triumph The Church And Kingdom Of God In Christ

311 Nixon St

(228) 432-1070

Biloxi, MS

Vietnamese Baptist Church

381 Oak St

(228) 432-7904

Biloxi, MS

Woolmarket Baptist Church

12816 Lorraine Rd

(228) 392-5622

Biloxi, MS

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