The world has responded in a big way to the tsunami disaster that
swept the coasts of much of Asia. Billions of dollars have been
pledged, although there is doubt that all of it will be forthcoming.
Still, the immediate global response to the crisis has been good and
much needed aid has reached many of those who survived the giant
Now, already, tsunami news is disappearing from our televisions and
newspaper even though the suffering and needs continue. A long-term
involvement will be needed, not only to help cleanup, but also to
help people rebuild their lives and their spirits.
It is important now for the CJPA to seriously plan how we can best be
involved in this long-term need. What are our strengths? What do we
have to contribute that will be of most benefit to those who suffer
the most? What resources do we have and what resources can we find
to work at the task of long-term rebuilding and rehabilitation?
I ask you to help brainstorm on these and other pertinent questions.
Some of our friends come from affected areas and others have been
involved in the immediate efforts to give assistance. They can help
us think about how best we can be involved and where our
contribution, small as it may be, can be most beneficial to those who
need it the most. Please share your thoughts with us.
To help us start thinking ahead, let me make one small suggestion. I
trust that you will have many other ideas to share and out of this
brainstorming can emerge a useful contribution from our interfaith
One possibility is that we put together some small, interfaith teams
to spend a week or more in some area helping rebuild houses, mosques,
churches or some other structure. To do this we would need to have
good coordination in the area (in other words, someone on the ground
who can identify the most needed reconstruction area and help make
local arrangements.) and find some funds to help with transportation
etc. This kind of reconstruction need will be needed for a long time
to come, so we could plan such "work camps" over the next few years.
We could also coordinate with other regional and local groups who are
interested in a similar program.
What do you think? What are your ideas and suggestions? This is the
time for us to bring our interfaith community together and make a
positive contribution to rebuilding and creating deeper understanding
I look forward to hearing your ideas and do trust that we will find
an effective way to contribute to both the rebuilding of shattered
communities and lives as well as building communities of interfaith