Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic event.
PDA’s Response to COVID-19: a pastoral letter
March 26, 2020
The following text is pulled from a pastoral letter by PDA's director. Read the full letter here.
In company with the whole church—its congregations, pastors and chaplains, mid councils, and national staff, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has entered this strange new world of pandemic, beginning our response to COVID-19 with a solidarity grant to our ACT Alliance partner in China in February, to support their local response. As the virus began to spread, PDA prepared and offered guidance to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations for safe practices in the event of a widespread contagious disease outbreak, an outbreak which has now reached the level of pandemic.
What is Presbyterian Disaster Assistance doing now?
PDA is drawing 2.7 million dollars from reserves to seed the COVID-19 ongoing response both in the United States and internationally. These are funds that have been given by donors to PDA’s general fund, meant to meet the response needs of disasters small or large that are not able to be funded by special appeals. Although money is not the only thing communities need in this moment, it is one resource, alongside many others, that can be helpful. We are incredibly grateful to donors, past and continuing, who trusted PDA enough to designate their funds to the PDA general disaster account. This is where the bulk of our reserve for COVID-19 is being drawn from. We are also incredibly grateful to the churches and individuals who support One Great Hour of Sharing, the church-wide offering collected during Easter, which not only provides our core funding, but also supports two sibling programs, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Self Development of People, two programs whose work in addressing systemic poverty, hunger and centering the needs of communities historically marginalized is as critical in the face of COVID-19 as it is to our global human flourishing every day. Churches and communities wishing to think about how best to allocate mission resources during this pandemic can gain insight and support from any and all of us.
In addition to making these grant funds available, PDA is ramping up our Emotional and Spiritual Care programs, including Compassion Fatigue and Resiliency workshops, and we will be making them broadly available. We are working with the Mental Health Ministries office and the community Mental Health Network established after our last General Assembly. We will also work with Stony Point Center in New York, looking toward some virtual and (in time) actual gatherings for pastoral respite and reflection.
To support PDA's COVID-19 response, designate gifts to DR000148. We also encourage generous giving to One Great Hour of Sharing.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
- Focuses on the long term recovery of disaster impacted communities.
- Provides training and disaster preparedness for presbyteries and synods.
- Works collaboratively with church partnersand members of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) internationally, and nationally with other faith based responders.
- Connects partners locally and internationally with key organizations active in the response — United Nations, NVOAD (National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster), World Food Program, Red Cross, FEMA and others.
When disasters arise, we will provide more information on this page about the situation, as well as how you can participate, donate and other ways you can help.