Churches have long played a vital role in assisting communities during unexpected disasters. By providing shelter, food, medical aid and a host of other material and spiritual services, faith-based communities are often seen as critical to effective responses.

Recognizing the key role these groups play, the City & Borough of Juneau is now partnering with American Red Cross of Alaska to host a luncheon for faith communities and other disaster response organizations on Jan. 20. The gathering takes place in the Alaska Room at the Juneau International Airport from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Faith communities play a central role in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery,” a notice for the event states. “This event is intended to nurture partnerships and collaboration between faith communities and other organizations, agencies, and government entities with the goal of increasing response capabilities during local disasters.”

The luncheon will feature keynote speaker Rosita Wilburn, the Disaster Spiritual Care Lead for American Red Cross of Alaska. Participants will have the opportunity to learn, ask questions, and meet other community partners.

Anyone with an interest in faith communities and their role in disaster response and recovery is welcome to attend. The event is free of charge. Attendees are asked to RSVP at

For more information, contact Britt Tonnessen at

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Juneau wants Alaska churches to help with disaster response prep

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Two things come to mine, first why in Juneau? Do they nor want the population of Alaska to have a say? Second is do they really care? Most of tge time they already have their plan and our input is filling a square for public comment. Besides, liberals want to get rid of babies and out of control population so a natural disaster is a good way to do it. Nobody asks any questions. Look at the South States with FEMA and hurricanes. need I say more?

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I also have doubts reading that Juneau is asking the churches for help that this is for good intentions. I wonder what is coming down the pike that the thieves in Juneau need to cover up by getting help from innocent-looking enough organizations. Watch what organizations step in to help. If it is Catholic organizations, I would not trust that it is really to help the people.

  • Jen says:

    God’s churches along with its resources never should be used as a food pantry, homeless shelter, craft and rummage market site, concert event nor a distribution center. Its a house of prayer.

  • Rick says:

    Things to note, under FEMA Guidelines when President Trump was in office Churches and Religious Institutions are now considered key pieces of significant cultural fabric and essentially to communities responding and recovering to/from disasters. That change in policy allows churches with proper applications to be eligible for partially FEMA funded (75% FEMA 25% local match) Emergency Generators if they are factored into the community emergency response plans like Hazard Mitigation Plans, Community Emergency Response Teams, or Disaster Assistance Centers etc. I’m simplifying hundreds of pages of guidance but it can happen. I find it interesting that Juneau wants this because the City & Borough of Juneau Department of Emergency Services is one of the most inept and disconnected organizations I ever had the displeasure of interacting with and they would run point on this.