Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, has renewed its appeal for funds to support relief programs in Iraq and the Middle East.

“BWAid’s appeal to the worldwide Baptist family is to come and stand alongside your Christian sisters and brothers in the Middle East, as they seek to care in his name for those who are suffering,” said BWAid Director Paul Montacute.

With the imminent threat of war in Iraq, BWAid has been in contact with Baptist leaders in the region to gauge the need for resources. BWAid works with and through Baptist conventions and unions by providing financial resources and relief goods to help those needing shelter, food, medicine and security.

BWAid will also work through other Christian networks in the Middle East to provide needed resources. Many of these have already drawn up emergency preparedness plans to provide humanitarian assistance in the case of war.

Military intervention could cause a domino effect on countries neighboring Iraq, possibly spreading to the whole Middle East. The threat of civil unrest in other parts of the world will also spread the need for greater resources everywhere.

“We need a generous financial response from everyone,” said Montacute, “from individuals and churches, Sunday school classes and Bible study groups, and Baptist unions and conventions.”

BWAid does not send in relief workers, but aims to entrust, empower and enable local and national leaders.

“Baptists continue to pray and work for peace,” said Montacute, “but we also have a responsibility to assist the many thousands who will suffer as a result of this needless war.”

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