Most Presbyterians believe that it is important for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to help with disaster relief and recovery, and they generally give the denomination’s disaster relief agency, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), good marks for its work.
In recent years many Presbyterians have donated money to PDA, with more than one-third giving specifically to Haiti earthquake relief in 2009 or 2010.
These are just a few of the basic findings from the February 2011 Presbyterian Panel survey on Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
The survey also revealed that three-quarters of members, four in five (ruling) elders and about nine in ten ministers (teaching elders) believe that it is “very important” or “important” for the denomination to engage in the type of work that PDA does.
About nine in ten members, elders and ministers believe that PDA is “very faithful” or “faithful” to its mission of enabling “congregations and mission partners to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crises and catastrophic events.”
Majorities of members, elders and ministers believe PDA is “very effective” or “effective” in responding to disasters in the United States, partnering with other organizations and managing volunteers at work sites. Somewhat fewer believe PDA is “very effective” or “effective” in responding to disasters in other countries, working with congregations and presbyteries and aiding refugee resettlement and long-term disaster recovery.
Majorities of members, elders and ministers also “strongly agree” or “agree” that funds given to PDA help provide a witness of God’s love and that PDA’s work promotes the PC(USA)’s identity.
“Presbyterians believe disaster aid is a key denominational activity,” said Perry Chang, Presbyterian Panel administrator. “And they believe PDA is doing a good job of spearheading Presbyterian disaster aid efforts.”
PDA is a ministry of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministry area of the PC(USA)’s General Assembly Mission Council, the denomination’s mission and ministry agency.
Every three years the PC(USA) Research Services office assembles representative samples of Presbyterian church members, elders and ministers to respond to questions on different topics quarterly. Known as the Presbyterian Panel, these randomly chosen respondents form a vital means for church leaders to learn the opinions of rank-and-file Presbyterians.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) comprises more than 2 million members in more than 10,000 congregations, answering Christ’s call to mission and ministry throughout the United States and the world. See the PC(USA) website for more information.