Special Needs Ministry, Ukrainian Refugee Aid, & Chaplain Ministry
For Tom Stolle, associate executive director and chief financial officer for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D), helping equip churches to care for those with disabilities is a deeply personal endeavor. Send Relief leadership recently traveled to Romania and Moldova to listen to, pray for and determine the needs that each of the nation’s Baptist unions have in their ministry to Ukrainian refugees. And the Winter World University Games are coming to the Adirondack region of New York in 2023, and Ryan Schneider, pastor of Saranac Lake Baptist Church and lead chaplain for the event, is looking for believers to volunteer and minister in a variety of ways during the games.
For Tom Stolle, associate executive director and chief financial officer for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D), helping equip churches to care for those with disabilities is a deeply personal endeavor. His son, Jimmy, now 20, was born with severe autism.
Stolle’s latest involvement is serving as chair of the state convention’s task force meant to analyze and address sexual abuse. Stolle said part of his reason for wanting to lead the task force is that those with disabilities are at a very high risk to be sexually abused.
He cited research from the Bureau of Justice Statistics that states the rate of rape and sexual assault against individuals with disabilities is 7 times the rate of those without disability.
According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, more than 90 percent of people with developmental disabilities will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives.
The convention’s special needs ministry inspired one church (Freedom Church in Baltimore, Md.) so much that it began a non-profit ministry that trains churches in how to minister to individuals with disabilities.
The organization, named the Banquet Network, partners with the state convention, which enables it to train churches free of charge.
Send Relief leadership recently traveled to Romania and Moldova to listen to, pray for and determine the needs that each of the nation’s Baptist unions have in their ministry to Ukrainian refugees.
Bryant Wright, president of Send Relief, said the organization is working alongside the Baptist unions, organizations that represent and serve groups of churches, in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and other surrounding countries in their efforts to serve Ukrainian refugees.
Send Relief leadership visited the sites of churches that have been housing refugees and met with local pastors. Three hundred thousand Ukrainians have fled through Moldova, the majority staying in Baptist churches, camps and the homes of Christians.
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The Winter World University Games are coming to the Adirondack region of New York in 2023, and Ryan Schneider, pastor of Saranac Lake Baptist Church and lead chaplain for the event, is looking for believers to volunteer and minister in a variety of ways during the games.
Opening Jan. 12, the World University Games are an 11-day international athletic competition that will draw about 1,600 college athletes from 50 countries to Lake Placid for 86 medal events in 12 sports, such as skiing, hockey, biathlon, snowboarding and skating.
Unlike the Olympics, which typically provides one athletes’ village where all competitors are housed, participants in the World University Games in Lake Placid will be accommodated in four different athletes’ villages around the region. Each village is required to have a chapel.
Schneider, who has served as an Olympics chaplain, will be selecting 17 other chaplains to help minister to athletes and their families during the event.
Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.
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