West Side clergy rally to help earthquake victims

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Clergy from Chicago’s West Side are gearing up to provide assistance for the international humanitarian crisis in Nepal in the wake of last Saturday’s earthquake.

More than 5,000 have died, and thousands more have been injured. And thousands more have been left shell shocked and homeless.

Faith leaders, World Vision staff and members from Chicago’s Nepalese community will hold a press conference 10 a.m. Thursday, April 30 at New Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington Blvd., to announce a plan by a group of West Side churches to support recovery efforts.

The pastors will challenge Chicago’s faith community to hold a special disaster relief offering and extend prayers for the families and survivors in Nepal. This is a clarion call to churches and people of faith across the city to join them in supporting this cause.

The relief effort is being launched by 15 local faith leaders who are part of the Leaders Network, a West Side-based social justice organization. The organization is partnering with World Vision, one of the largest Christian relief organizations in the world.

“There’s no way a crisis of this magnitude could occur and the church not respond,” said Rev. Ira Acree, pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church. “That would be shameful, especially with such a glaring need. This nation can’t recover without help from the world.”

The Leaders Network has a relationship with World Vision that extends beyond a decade in other relief efforts local and worldwide. Pastors are hoping for a big response from the faith community.

“I can not begin to comprehend the pain and suffering that’s going on in Nepal. I can only ask myself what can you do to help,” said Steve Epting, pastor of Hope Community Church.

Pastor Cy Fields of New Landmark MB Church and president of the Leaders Network added, “In this time of civil unrest and protest, there is a need to show compassion that redeems hope in humanity and provides relief to catastrophic devastation.”

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