Churches as Community Centers and Shelters – a Faithify campaign
The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines continues to be a resilient faith community. Over the years we are finding ways to be relevant and responsive, improve the work of our ministry, and become a true beloved community where people feel safe, loved, cared for, and respected. One of the many ways to do that is to open our doors to people in need, regardless of who they are. Thus, we want to offer our churches as community centers and shelters to the less privileged members of our society in times of calamity and emergency.
To make that happen we need to improve our small church buildings to make them storm resilient. Many of our churches in remote villages need structural improvements such as strengthening the roof, reinforcing columns, installing secured windows and doors, constructing decent toilets, installing ceilings, connecting to electricity and water supply, and providing emergency supplies and equipment. The average floor area of our church buildings is 16 by 20 feet and can accommodate just a few people.
The Philippines on the average experiences 20 typhoons per year. Some of those are super typhoons. The devastation of Typhoon Rai in December 2021 fueled our desire to make this project a priority. Typhoon Rai brought huge damages to our members’ houses and livelihoods. And because many of our church buildings were not strong enough, they also sustained damages. Sadly, we were not able to open them for people who needed a place to stay.
Donations amounting to $15,000 are needed to claim a matching grant from the UU Funding Program, and to upgrade the affected churches. UUCP is aiming for low-cost buildings that are presentable and strong enough to withstand severe weather conditions. Each congregation would need around $2,000 to cover the cost of repair and improvement. Priority will be given to very remote congregations where access to government facilities is difficult.
We invite you to be a part of this initiative. Your generosity will help us realize the dream to become a beloved community. As we say, our faith is not just about beliefs but rather we are a faith of actions. Putting our beliefs into tangible actions is what Unitarian Universalism all about. Your help can save lives. Let us spread love and kindness as the world needs more of it. And let us continue to work together in making our world a better place.
Mabuhay (wish you well) and maraming salamat (thank you very much)!
by Arman Pedro, Church Administrator/Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines (excerpt)