damaged church

First Presbyterian Church in Cambridge, Ohio, following straight line winds in 2012. — Photo by Pauline Albrecht, NRT

Lightning. Storms. Floods. Hurricanes. Fires. Disasters bring chaos to hundreds of thousands of lives every year and have lasting effects.  This April, PDA and PW will begin a collaboration to help prepare congregations and presbyteries to reduce the chaos following a disaster by planning ahead.

At the September 24-27, 2014, fall meeting of the PW Churchwide Coordinating Team (CCT) in Minneapolis, Minn., PW approved a proposal to partner with PDA to train congregations and presbyteries in disaster preparedness. Members of the PDA National Response Team (NRT) have designed a curriculum for disaster preparation and a plan for training members of PW from each presbytery.

A team of NRT instructors will meet with the first group of PW trainer candidates April 8-9, 2015, in Louisville, Ky.  At the conclusion of the event, trainers will be commissioned and receive a certificate and a co-branded scarf.  PDA will continue to provide resources for the PW trainers and continue to build a strong contingent of PW trainers who are equipped to offer disaster preparedness training to congregations and others in their presbyteries.

Requirements for trainers include:

  • Interest in disaster preparedness.
  • Three-year commitment to actively seek, set-up, and conduct at least three disaster preparation trainings per year in congregations, clusters, and/or presbytery/presbyteries.
  • Presentation experience.
  • Comfortable in using email and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Completed application and three references:
    • PWP or PWS Moderator
    • Pastor or clerk of session
    • Someone who has heard you present

This partnership has benefits for both PW and PDA.  For Presbyterian Women, it has the potential to bring additional mission focused women into the work of PW, to increase the number of Presbyterian Women, and to expand the visibility of PW in congregations and presbyteries.  For Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, it will expand our volunteer base to enable us to prepare more congregations and presbyteries to be ready to respond to disasters in their communities, our collaboration with a key mission partner of the PC(USA), and knowledge of PDA, which is supported by One Great Hour of Sharing.

For more information about PW Disaster Preparedness Trainings please contact Beth Snyder at beth.snyder@pcusa.org.

PDA logo and mission statement PW logo and purpose

This article was written by Carolyn Thalman. Carolyn is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Winchester, Virginia, and a member of the PDA National Response Team (NRT).


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