Rapid Response Team

Lighthouse Churches

A Lighthouse Church is equipped to respond to local disaster and emergency situations …

We know that you, the local church, are best placed to help your neighbours if a disaster happens in your area. Samaritan’s Purse has experience worldwide of responding to natural disasters and our UK Disaster Relief Ministry draws on that knowledge and experience to partner with churches and equip them to work alongside us in local disasters. We would like to work with you so that if a catastrophic situation happens in your community, together we can respond quickly to help people with practical, emotional and spiritual support at a time when they are in desperate need. We call our partners in this ministry, Lighthouse Churches, and we would love to talk to you about how you can join us.

Becoming a Lighthouse Church

If you become a Lighthouse Church you will be partnering with our UK Disaster Relief Ministry and if a disaster strikes in your community, we will work together in Jesus’ name to provide practical help and emotional and spiritual support to those who have been affected.

Initially, we will work with you to agree and set up procedures so that if and when a disaster happens in your community, you will be ready and equipped to respond alongside our UK Disaster Relief team. Samaritan’s Purse has a wealth of experience responding to disasters and emergencies worldwide and as a partner of our UK Disaster Relief Ministry you will be able to draw on our knowledge and experience to assist in the response to a local disaster and deal with the multitude of tasks that arise when normal life is replaced by destruction. This can be very demanding work and being in partnership with an experienced and trained team will benefit your volunteers and the community so that the best quality of help and support is given.
Our UK Disaster Relief Ministry is working across the UK to develop partnerships with other organisations that are all working under the authority of and to an agreed emergency plan with the Local Resilience Forum (see paragraph below). Together we will supply the structure, organisation and equipment to enable a safe and effective response to a local disaster and emergency event. As a Lighthouse Church you will be part of this ministry.

How does the partnership work?

  • We will familiarise you with the work of our UK Disaster Relief Ministry so that you understand what is expected in the event of a disaster.
  • You will have one or more lead contacts that we can communicate with.
  • During a deployment you would assist the UK Disaster Relief team with volunteer support and local information and guidance. Having facilities to meet in is helpful but not essential.
  • There will be the opportunity to engage with the people in your community who need practical, emotional and spiritual support.
  • We will pray together during deployments wherever they are in the UK.

Watch this testimony from a pastor about becoming a Lighthouse Church

What type of practical support might your volunteers assist in?

  • The removal of sludge and mud
  • The removal of ruined furniture (including kitchen units), curtains and effects, carpets and floor coverings
  • The removal of plaster and wall coatings which are ruined beyond repair
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all affected surfaces
  • The recovery and washing of items that might be salvageable
  • Cleaning up the garden and garage

The impact you could make as a Lighthouse Church

Here is a story from a recent deployment (January 2016) that illustrates both the reality of trauma and the difference that can be made by Lighthouse Churches working in partnership with the UK Disaster Relief Ministry, all helping in Jesus’ name:

“In the afternoon the UK Disaster Relief team leaders visited John and Jill at their home; they were both very emotional and were struggling to come to terms with the destruction to their home that the recent flooding had caused. They did not have the necessary insurance which was clearly causing them further anxiety. They’d made a start on trying to sort things out and had cleared all the damaged furniture and floor coverings. We worked with John to assess their immediate needs and we ordered a skip for the following day when we planned to return with a bigger team. We also asked John and Jill it they would like a visit from our ministry chaplains and they said that they would.

“The next day – we returned with five volunteers from Christian Life Church, which is a Lighthouse Church, to help John and Jill tackle this very difficult work. The day started with a health and safety induction and a prayer for all the work we had ahead of us. The team worked hard removing the mud and debris from the garage and disinfecting the area; items that could not be salvaged were placed in the skip and other items cleaned. The garden and patio area, utility room and bathroom were also cleaned up so that they could be used again. After about three hours the work was completed and as a symbol of Jesus’ love for them, the team presented John and Jill with a Bible that had been signed by everyone. The chaplains prayed with them that the Lord would support them through this very difficult time.

“A few days later one of the chaplains called in to see how they were getting on. John and Jill were very grateful for the practical help provided and hoped it would spur them on to restore their home. They had lived in the property for over thirty years and when their previous insurance expired, despite extensive efforts, they could not find a company willing to renew their policy due to the flood risk. Jill was clearly still very upset and emotional as she looked around what was left of her home. “Because they have no insurance they are doing their best to dry the house out, return to some semblance of normality and get on with life. Jill asked for a hug and I didn’t think she was going to let go! John again thanked us and Jill said that we were angels that day.”

John and Jill’s story is not yet complete and Christian Life Church stands ready with us to continue supporting them.

What is a Local Resilience Forum?

Local Resilience Forums (LRF’s) are multi-agency partnerships based on Police areas that plan and prepare for localised incidents and catastrophic emergencies to either prevent or mitigate the impact of any incident on the local communities. The representatives are made up from:

  • Category 1 responders: local public services including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and similar key agencies.
  • Category 2 responders: Highways Agency, public utility companies and similar who have specific expertise.
  • Other Responders: Military and voluntary sectors including the Faith community. Lighthouse Churches and our UK Disaster Relief Ministry would fit in here.

Next Steps

Our aim is to be able to respond immediately to any disaster than occurs across the UK so that our neighbours, families and friends wherever they are get the best care and support available. In order for this to happen we need to build a network of Lighthouse Churches to work in partnership with our UK Disaster Relief Ministry to enable us to rapidly connect locally when a situation develops. This is particularly important in areas of high risk for flooding and storm damage.

Will you join us and become a Lighthouse Church? There is no financial cost and minimal time commitment to you and at its simplest being a Lighthouse Church means that we keep in contact just in case a situation arises.

To find out more please contact us