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Help and Hope: Disaster Preparedness and Response Tools for Congregations

SKU 9780827214989

edited by Amy Gopp and Brandon Gilvin


Joplin. Newtown. Hurricane Harvey. In times of disaster and tragedy, churches are called to provide sanctuary, hope, and practical aid. Filled with first-hand accounts from disaster-struck communities, Help and Hope provides practical instructions for pastors and volunteers who want to prepare now so they are ready when tragedy happens.

Designed with utility in mind:

  • Checklists
  • Key websites and contact lists
  • Space for your own notes
  • FREE family information form to help organizations re-establish communication after disasters

Download the free Family Information Form and add it to your family’s preparedness tool kit!

Help and Hope prepares you to be shelter from the storm.

Produced in cooperation with Church World Service and Week of Compassion

ERRATA: An article appearing in this book, “To the Ends of the Earth: Faith at work around the world,” by Chris Herlinger, was originally published by America magazine, Vol. 208, No. 7, March 4, 2013, page 22-25.



"... What the church needs, therefore, is a manual to help it make good decisions. That manual is now available thanks to Amy Gopp and Brandon Gilvin, the two editors of Help and Hope, a brief but densely packed handbook for churches that was produced with the help of Church World Service… The contributors to the volume come from a variety of faith communities, though quite a number are Disciples of Christ – like the two editors. The two editors have substantial experience in the area of disaster relief, and so they are well equipped to gather together the materials and persons to create this tool for congregations…..I think every pastor should read this book. Then the book should be shared with persons dealing with the various areas of ministry discussed in the books twenty-four chapters. … [T]his is a small but important book that the church needs to take up and read and act accordingly!"
—excerpted from “Ponderings on a Faith Journey,” Bob Cornwall

“... Produced in cooperation with the Church World Service, an international faith-based emergency response and development organization, Help and Hope provides a practical yet sensitive guide for both congregations who experience tragedy and those who want to reach out to those afflicted by tragedy. ... Secular organizations can help with the practical concerns of rebuilding, but Help and Hopeprovides direction in churches and congregations helping to restore the emotional and spiritual wellbeing in communities. One chapter even details age-appropriate ways of helping infants, children, and teenagers get through crises and return to normal life ... Amy Gopp and Brandon Gilvin have assembled a diverse and thoughtful toolkit for congregations as they expect the unexpected. “ —excerpted from Church Health Reader,Brianna Wagner, 11/12/14
"One of the questions I have found myself asking lately is how we can reclaim the ancient idea of the common good. In times of adversity, how can we respond in a way that promotes and preserves our best values? Using the backdrop of disaster preparedness, this book tells how individuals, congregations, and communities have worked together to respond in times of tragedy and crisis. It is a great resource for people of faith to know how best to love and serve their neighbors."
—Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners

"As people of faith, we are compelled to heal a hurting world.  However, it is more apparent than ever that we need strong relationships and the proper tools to accomplish this.  Church World Services is a leader in this effort; training faith based partners in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.  Help and Hope is yet another example of this worthwhile and timely effort; providing direction and advice to those congregations who wish to prepare for ministry to those affected by disaster." 
—Keith Adams, Disaster Recovery Coordinator, Episcopal Dioceses of New Jersey and Newark

"Help and Hope is a much-needed resource that has been long-awaited.  Penned by skilled ministers and practitioners, this practical guide is for both ordained and lay ministers alike.  Here you glimpse the gritty work of post-trauma ministry through real-life illustrations, useful questions that lead to actionable next steps, and roadmaps for planning meaningful worship, practicing care, and envisioning mission after trauma.  If you and your congregation are discerning your roles in the aftermath of disaster, this will be a helpful companion. More books, like this one, are needed in the coming years as congregations continue to embrace their capacities to be catalysts for healing after trauma." 
—Dr. Kate Wiebe, Executive Director of the Institute for Congregational Trauma and Growth (ICTG) and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Responder volunteer

"I am delighted to hear about the release of Help and Hope: Disaster Preparedness and Response Tools for Congregations. When I read through the list of contributing writers, I knew the text would be rich with 'best known solutions'. The diverse experience of the writers have experienced first hand the importance of preparing congregations and I strongly recommend all faith leaders invest in the time to read the wisdom imparted within the text."
—Jono Anzalone, The American Red Cross, Division Disaster Executive, North Central Division, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster – Advocacy Committee Chair