GMA Announces Project Restore

Today, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) announced the establishment of Project Restore, an Asian Tsunami awareness, prayer and fundraising effort in coordination with World Vision, the international Christian disaster relief agency which has its staff on the ground and already responding in the stricken region, announced John W. Styll, president of the GMA.
Project Restore launches with the formation of a website, www.ProjectRestore.org, and will serve as the industry’s unified campaign for raising awareness of how the gospel music community and its fans can be involved, including encouraging financial donations to World Vision (www.worldvision.org) and other Christian agencies which GMA has worked with and which are directly providing disaster relief for the countries and the victims of the Tsunami.  Project Restore will focus its initial efforts on the Tsunami disaster, but will remain the industry’s official crisis response vehicle in the future.
“Tragedies like the Tsunami disaster can make individuals feel helpless.  We believe that where two or more is gathered, God will be there.  Project Restore is our opportunity to gather together all the constituencies in the GMA community to make God’s voice and heart heard on the other side of the world during this time of unimaginable suffering,” said John Styll, president of GMA.  “The work to be done to heal lives, hearts and souls is overwhelming, but we can offer our prayers and our resources, and World Vision and other relief organizations are providing the hands and feet in this immeasurable task.  Together, we hope to reflect the grace and goodness of the Gospel as God brings hope and restoration to the people of Asia.”
Among the artists who will be lending their support to Project Restore include Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin, Casting Crowns and the more than 40 artists who serve as Word Vision ambassadors.  Links from the artists’ fan websites will includes links and information about Project Restore and World Vision.  During the month of January, more than 45 concerts of World Vision artists will make an appeal to concertgoers for a single gift donation for Tsunami relief. 
A complete list of artists supporting Project Restore, and details related to concert fundraising will be included and updated on a regular basis at www.ProjectRestore.org.  As part of the Project Restore campaign, artists not associated with World Vision or another relief charity will be offered resources for their website and tours. 
“As I’ve wrestled with the questions that all of us have in the wake of this great disaster I’ve come to realize that once again the only question I’m in a position to ask is, “what now, how am I to respond?”  As a community of people who create art for the purpose of showing the glory and greatness of our God through music I believe moments in history like these are the very reason we exist.  Who we are in these times is the essence of why we are, so its my prayer and hope, that as we carry this banner of compassion everyone will join in alongside us and watch what God will do through us,” said Steven Curtis Chapman, who in addition to being part of the gospel music community, is the father of three adopted Asian children (www.Shaohannahshope.org).
 
Visitors to www.ProjectRestore.org will find a list of website links to organizations like World Vision as well as Compassion International (www.compassion.com) , Food for the Hungry (www.fh.org), Feed the Children (www.feedthechildren.org), International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org).  These Christian charities are organizations which also have relationships with GMA or with gospel music artists and are specifically targeting fundraising and relief efforts in Asia.  The White House has also established www.usafreedomcorps.gov and www.usaid.gov as website resources for identifying charities that are working in the Tsunami affected areas. 
In the works for Project Restore is a Nashville area music and prayer benefit event to be scheduled for later in January.  Project Restore will invite the city to join together with artists and area church leaders for an evening of music, prayer and reflection at a benefit event.  The ticketed event will raise money for World Vision, but according to Styll, the focus of the evening will be on the gathering of community.
“A recent poll in USA Today/Gallup showed that 74 percent of Americans say they have prayed for the victims of Tsunamis.  That is powerful evidence in a widely-shared belief that prayer can be as important as donations in a situation like this.  We hope to bring a large community together to make our voices heard in prayer – and of course – song – of our support for the millions of children left without parents, the millions of mothers and fathers without jobs and homes and the millions of Asians left hopeless after a tragedy beyond anything we can comprehend.”
Details about the event, including date and location and artist line-up will be announced in the coming days.
GMA first associated with World Vision after 9-11 when artists, writers, musicians and executives in the gospel music industry contacted the GMA wanting to be a part of the healing response to that tragic event.  Out of a desire to respond as a community, the GMA welcomed World Vision’s offer to partner in rallying the gospel music community to aid in future disaster relief efforts in the future. 
World Vision has been providing relief in most of the areas impacted by the tsunami, with 3,700 staff on the ground in the five hardest hit countries alone.  World Vision staff has been distributing survival packs of food, bottled water, medicine, sleeping mats, clothing, and household items to tens of thousands of people.  World Vision has set a $100 million goal to help the victims of the South Asia disaster, the largest single commitment in the organization’s 54-year history.
Founded in 1964, the 4,500-member Gospel Music Association is dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the gospel through music.  The GMA represents all styles of gospel music including contemporary pop, rock, urban gospel, praise & worship, Southern gospel, country and children’s gospel music.  For more information, visit www.gospelmusic.org.

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