IN a world where exceptional circumstances have become the norm, the ability to react quickly and decisively becomes ever-more important. As The Salvation Army continues to fulfil its mission to meet human needs in God’s name without discrimination – even in the exceptionally difficult circumstances currently being experienced – General Brian Peddle has directed the setting up of a new International Headquarters (IHQ) body. The COVID-19 International Response Group – headed by the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham – will provide much-needed support swiftly and efficiently, freeing local Salvationists and friends to concentrate on fulfilling the most pressing needs.
Recognising that fundraising efforts around the world have become much more difficult while, at the same time, the need for immediate support has grown, the new group is able to provide access to funds in cases that may previously have had to wait for a donor to be identified. The General is adamant that every effort is made to ensure that local ability to carry out life-saving and life-changing ministry should not be hampered by the lack of access to resources.
According to its terms of reference, the COVID-19 International Response Group exists to:
- Consult and collaborate an intentional response to the COVID-19 crisis
- Coordinate the resources of IHQ to respond to emergency needs around the world
- Assess capacity to respond
- Support the Programme Resources Department in determining strategic priorities and potential funding resources
- Make recommendations to The General’s Council/Salvation Army International Trading Company for response and/or recovery
- Agree procedures and criteria for funding support
- Produce updates for the global Army.
The Chief of the Staff wrote to territorial, command and regional leaders on 14 April to explain what the new group seeks to do:
‘The international Salvation Army,’ he said, ‘is stepping up to do what we can. With prayer, creativity, inspired leaders and dedicated frontline teams, we are not retreating and IHQ wants to support these unique and expanded ministries.
‘At the direction of the General, IHQ has created a COVID-19 Response Group in support of the international Salvation Army. This group, under my chairmanship, consists of zonal leaders, and Business and Programme Resources leadership.
‘The role of this group is to intentionally respond to the COVID-19 crisis by assessing both the needs as they are presented as well as the capacity to respond to these needs … exploring and securing funding resources and developing processes to ensure timely availability and distribution.’
- At the time of writing, since its first meeting on 8 April 2020, the group has agreed to the funding of 59 Rapid Response projects – overseen by International Emergency Services – and 60 ‘Over and Above’ Mission Support projects – managed through International Development Services.
Report by IHQ Communications