NOTE: A complete listing of congregational and diocesan responses, photos, and resources can be found here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_64712_ENG_HTM.htm
Bishops of the Episcopal Church are appealing to their parishioners to pray fervently and give generously to relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, while individuals and congregations are making connections with those in need throughout the Gulf Coast region. Here is a compilation of statements and reports from around the Episcopal Church on relief for Hurricane Katrina's victims.
An appeal for help through Episcopal Relief and Development for victims of Hurricane Katrina
As Hurricane Katrina was about to make landfall, Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana sent a message to the Presiding Bishop asking for the Church's prayers. Now that we are beginning to realize the extent of the devastation wrought by the storm, and the flooding unleashed by Tuesday's break in the levees, it is time for us also to begin to provide aid to the thousands whose lives have been uprooted by and washed over by this catastrophe. The need will be enormous. Today, Wednesday, we have sent $10,000 from diocesan funds earmarked for emergency relief to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). Members of diocesan staff are pledging personally for the relief effort. Please join us, and give substantially in any of the following ways:
Online at er-d.org: http://episcopalrelief.org
By phone at 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129;
By mail to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.
And pray God's mercy and tender blessing on all who have died, and for their families and friends, on all who have sustained loss, and on all who minister to and serve them in this hour of need.
Thank you, in the love of Christ,
Andrew D. Smith
Bishop of Connecticut
August 30, 2005
Message from Bishop Cederholm on Hurricane Katrina
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our heartfelt prayers go to all the victims of Hurricane Katrina this week as we learn about the devastation in the affected states and even as each day brings more tragic news.
Your bishops join with the Presiding Bishop in expressing our deepest sorrow to those who have lost loved ones and the thousands who remain homeless and continue to suffer with so many challenges ahead.
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is working with Gulf Coast dioceses affected by Hurricane Katrina and continues to provide an outstanding relief effort. As of Aug. 31, funds had already been sent to the dioceses of Central Gulf Coast (comprising southern Alabama and northwestern Florida), Mississippi and Louisiana.
Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, in an Aug. 31 statement, asked Episcopalians for contributions to ERD's work to support relief and rebuilding efforts, and Tom, Gayle and I join him in his appeal.
"At this time let us be exceedingly mindful that bearing one another's burdens and sharing one another's suffering is integral to being members of Christ's body. I call upon every member of our church to reach out in prayer and tangible support to our brothers and sisters as they live through these overwhelming days of loss and begin to face the difficult challenges of the future," Bishop Griswold said in his statement. The full text of the statement is available at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/ens.
To make a donation, visit ERD's Web site at http://episcopalrelief.org;
Call 800/334-7626, ext. 5129 (Monday-Friday, 9 A.M.-5 P.M.); or
Mail checks, marked "Hurricane Relief" and made payable to "Episcopal Relief and Development," to: Episcopal Relief and Development, Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101- 5043.
We urge all parishioners to be as generous as possible in these coming days.
Sadly, this situation will continue to provide challenges and tragic news for a long time to come. We will keep you apprised of further information that will be helpful to as we receive it.
Bud Cederholm /s/
Diocese establishes fund to assist Hurricane Katrina victims
The Episcopal Diocese of New York is responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Reports from affected dioceses -- such as the Diocese of Louisiana and the Diocese of Mississippi -- confirm the breadth of the need and assistance that is required.
Bishop Sisk has established a fund to aid our brothers and sisters in the affected areas. You can donate on-line at Support The Church or send a check made payable to the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., NYC, NY 10025. In all cases, be sure to indicate Hurricane Katrina in the notation.
You can also donate to Episcopal Relief and Development, http://episcopalrelief.org.
The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane
Bishop of Washington
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you know, the recent Hurricane Katrina has left inestimable devastation throughout the Gulf Coast, and particularly in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. I have been in touch with the bishops in the Dioceses of Mississippi, Louisiana, Western Louisiana and Alabama to send word of our deep condolences and our sincere hope to do what we can to help in some small way. Thousands have lost their homes, some have lost family members, and the damage at this point remains incalculable.
My prayer is that you and your parishioners can lend support to the massive relief efforts by sending a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development (815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017 or http://episcopalrelief.org), which offers a broad spectrum of aid efforts. Or you can send checks to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington by writing in the memo section "Hurricane Relief," and we will send such donations to the dioceses in the states affected by the storm. Checks sent to EDOW will be forwarded specifically to the needs of the congregations and parishes within the dioceses in the Gulf Coast region, as directed by the respective bishops in those dioceses. I know you will continue to keep in your prayers the people of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and all those touched by the unfathomable loss and chaos brought about by Hurricane Katrina.
In Christ's Peace, Power, and Love,
The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, D.D.
Bishop of Washington
To be read aloud in all churches in the Diocese of Bethlehem at all services through Labor Day, 2005, and posted on parish bulletin boards.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This week has seen tremendous devastation in New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. We do not know yet how many are dead and what the economic impact will be on that region and the nation.
I write to you from Nova Scotia, and can tell you how much the Canadian people in this storm-vulnerable area are concerned for their neighbors in the United States. Collections are being taken in public places. The banner headline of the Canadian version of USA Today is "American Tsunami." While that is in some ways an exaggeration, in terms of the amount of destruction in one area, it is accurate.
The governor of Louisiana has announced that she believes thousands to be dead. The death toll from Katrina may in fact exceed that of 9/11, and the cleanup will take a very long time. This means that many thousands are homeless, jobless, and without furniture and clothing. Some have lost their children or their parents. CNN was showing corpses lying in the street, unattended and being eaten by rats. This is a third-world scenario taking place in the United States. We need to respond.
The Presiding Bishop has appealed to the Church at large, and I ask you now, to join the relief effort. Diana and I have sent a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development [c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101], and invite you to do the same. If it is more convenient for you, money may also be sent to the Diocesan Office, and we will forward it for you. Katrina's impact is already being felt at gas stations and lumber yards, and will soon affect the prices of poultry and coffee. Let us use those daily shocks as reminders of the devastation, and reach out to those who have nothing.
I ask that you continue to pray for the people involved in this tragedy at the service where you hear this letter read and in your personal prayers. I ask that you help the victims of Katrina in every way that you can. The offerings at our regional confirmations this fall will also support hurricane relief.
May God move you to continue the love with which you responded to last year's famine in Sudan. While in Minnesota last week I was reminded of the impression we made on many in this country with that response. Your generosity has saved lives in the past. I hope that, together with the rest of the Episcopal Church, that pattern will grow in a world that never ceases to give us opportunity to be Christ's hands and feet.
I look forward to seeing you soon. May God bless you and your loved ones on this holiday weekend.
September 1, 2005
My Dear Friends,
These past several days have brought us heartache as we watched the growing death toll in cities and towns along the Gulf Coast. We have been shattered by television interviews with bewildered people stripped by Katrina's devastating winds and flood waters of almost everything in the world they owned.
We now believe many, many Episcopal churches have been utterly destroyed. Most of us have probably wondered how we would be dealing with such a disaster if the hurricane had struck eastern Maryland and we had become the victims and refugees.
Eight months ago faithful Christians in the Diocese of Easton opened their hearts and their pocketbooks and contributed many tens of thousands of dollars to Episcopal Relief and Development for tsunami assistance a half a world away. This time the disaster has claimed lives and property almost next door. I now call on all Episcopalians in our Diocese to prayerfully consider making generous donations to ERD or one of the other legitimate agencies. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us why. The author says, "But do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."
My fellow Episcopalians, let us please God by sharing what we have with our American sisters and brothers. Clergy throughout the Diocese have been given information to help you decide about your giving.
+James J. Shand
X Bishop of Easton
Bishop Robert Duncan encouraged all the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to help those facing catastrophic losses in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"Our experiences with rain and flood waters in Oakdale and other parts of the Diocese last September gave us a small taste of what the people of Louisiana and Mississippi are facing," said Bishop Duncan. "I ask all the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to pray and generously support all those along the Gulf Coast suffering at this time ."
Bishop Duncan recommended three immediate ways to help. The Anglican Communion Network (ACN) is organizing direct relief and assistance to parishes in the affected areas. "There is a giving mechanism on the ACN website to help our brothers and sisters affected by the storm," said Bishop Duncan. Those wishing to channel relief through the Episcopal Church's independent relief organization could consider supporting the work of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD -- http://episcopalrelief.org). The agency has already sent funds and two mobile response trailers to the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and will be deploying aid and funds to Louisiana as soon as possible.
Another good option for giving is the Salvation Army. As always seems to be the case in times of disaster, this dedicated group of Christians is already on the scene and accepting a wide variety of donations, from funds to volunteer labor, and of course, prayer as they work to help people pick up the pieces of their lives.
A letter from Bishop Lee on Aid to Victims of Hurricane Katrina
September 1, 2005
To the Churches of the Diocese of Virginia:
I ask your prayers for victims of Hurricane Katrina and your generosity in helping the Church respond to their needs. I am sending $10,000 to each of the bishops of the Diocese of Louisiana and the Diocese of Mississippi to help them respond to emergency needs in their dioceses'. These gifts are tangible signs that the people of the Diocese of Virginia are holding hurricane victims in our prayers. Individual and congregational gifts toward hurricane relief may be sent to Episcopal Relief and Development, 815 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10017 or to the Diocese of Virginia, Mayo Memorial Church House, 110 West Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220. The entire amount of such gifts will be sent to ERD for relief of hurricane victims.
The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee
Bishop, Diocese of Virginia
Your Sunday Offerings for ERD
As Hurricane Katrina leaves behind devastation in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and other states, your church can help Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) to support communities affected by this disaster. Members of the Diocese of Virginia are encouraged to join together in prayer for the people affected by Hurricane Katrina and to designate Sunday offerings for to ERD's Hurricane Fund. To make a contribution, the most timely method is to donate directly to Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ. The Diocesan office can also forward gifts from churches to ERD. For more information about ERD's Katrina relief effort, go to http://episcopalrelief.orgor call 1-800-334-7626.
SPECIAL REPORT ON RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA STATEMENT FROM BISHOP PARSLEY,
Wednesday, August 31st, 2005
To the Clergy and People of the Diocese
Our hearts and prayers go out to our neighbors in Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Central Gulf Coast in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. There is vast human suffering and loss in these areas and many courageous people reaching out to help. Let us pray fervently for them in the days to come and be responsive to their needs for support and care.
We are in touch with the bishops and other leaders in our neighboring dioceses, offering the help of our diocese. ERD is responding in many ways, as are our joint disaster relief structures with the ELCA. We know that a number of parish churches and buildings in Mississippi have been destroyed (8 we are told today) and we fear that a number may be found in Louisiana as well.
We are placing a Hurricane Katrina Relief link on our diocesan website to keep us all well informed. Please access it regularly. We will be asking for help as requests come to us and offering guidance for financial gifts. Deacon Roland Ficken is coordinating our relief efforts in close connection with Bill King's office.
I ask that each of our parishes have a special offering this Sunday for Hurricane Katrina relief. Please send these offerings to Carpenter House, and we will get them to the dioceses quickly. You may use ERD directly if you prefer. We will be in close touch with ERD to coordinate all Episcopal efforts to respond to this tragic event.
Let us show Christ's healing love and unconquerable hope to our neighbors in the days to come, with our prayers, our gifts, and with our acts of mercy. God is with us.
The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Jr.
RESPONDING TO NEEDS AT THIS TIME
With the loss of life now thought to be in the thousands and damages associated with Hurricane Katrina estimated to be more than $25 billion in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, parishes and individuals are asked to be as generous as possible in responding to this crisis. Contributions can be made either to:
Episcopal Relief and Development
Attention: Hurricane Relief Fund
P.O. Box 12043
Newark, N.J. 07101
Episcopal Diocese of Alabama
Attention: Hurricane Katrina Fund
521 North 20th Street
Birmingham, Al. 35203
THOUSANDS IN NEED OF TEMPORARY HOUSING
If you or your parish can assist by providing temporary housing (1 week to 6 months), please contact Donna Murrell or Bill King at Carpenter House, Birmingham at 205-715-2060, ext. 317. They will take your housing availability information and forward it either to the Diocese of Louisiana or the Diocese of Mississippi. We ask that you be as specific as possible with your information. Your information can also be emailed to either:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT NAMES FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND DISASTER RELIEF COORDINATION:
Deacon Roland Ficken, Diocesan Disaster Coordinator, Tuscaloosa 205-242-8059(c): Rpvmficken@comcast.net
Deacon Janet Mason, ER&D Diocesan Coordinator 205-886-2489; Jandlmason@charter.net
The Rev. Bill King, Diocesan Staff Liaison for Disaster Relief 205-715-2060, ext. 317; email@example.com
DISASTER RELIEF NOTES TO BE POSTED:
01) The Red Cross has asked that no volunteers come from outside of the disaster areas at this time. Also, please do not collect clothing for distribution. What is most needed money collected and sent to charity groups such as the American Red Cross and the Episcopal Relief and Development.
02) Generators are needed. If you wish to donate a gas generator, contact Roland Ficken.
Katrina damage 'massive' CFE and Disaster News Network reports
(August 30, 2005) - Post-hurricane damage in Mississippi and Louisiana is massive and unprecedented, responders said, even before they could access some of the hardest hit places on Tuesday morning. The Diocese of Central Florida and other Episcopal groups are bringing relief.
The Rev. Dabney Smith, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, New Orleans, evacuated to a sister's house in San Antonio, Texas, with his mother and his wife, Mary Ellen.
Fr. Smith is getting to be an experienced hurricane hand: Last year he was rector at Holy Trinity Church, Melbourne, Fla. Florida's 2004 round of hurricanes damaged classrooms and roof sections at Holy Trinity.
"I told him that next time he moves it should be to some place like Nebraska," said the Rev. Mary Rosendahl, assistant in Melbourne and chaplain at Holy Trinity's school.
She said that as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, Trinity had not been flooded, although it is near some of the hardest-hit areas of New Orleans.
Over the next two weeks, Holy Trinity's church and school community will collect material and funds to assist in the crisis. Volunteers will take the aid to the affected areas when officials say they may enter.
In Fort Pierce, the Rev. John Liebler has offered special spiritual comfort in addition to material help. Fr. Liebler's church, St. Andrew's, was severely damaged in the 2004 hurricanes, and he learned first-hand how draining it can be for a rector to shovel debris while worrying about his stricken parishioners, his damaged home and his family.
Fr. Liebler said he will travel to a damaged church to assist the rector in any way he can, then follow up after the initial crisis has cleared.
FROM BISHOP DANIEL regarding relief for Hurricane Katrina victims
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
In 1999 Hurricane Floyd devastated this diocese - the greatest natural disaster in the history of North Carolina. At that time we were moved by the generous response of our Episcopal brothers and sisters nationwide. An unprecedented $650,000 came to us. It is now time for us to respond in kind.
One of the greatest natural disasters to hit the United States has affected the Dioceses of Alabama, Central Gulf Coast (Florida), Mississippi and Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina has caused enormous damage from which it will take years to recover, as our own experience with Hurricane Floyd taught us here in eastern North Carolina.
I am therefore asking for your most generous response to this disaster. I appeal to you for a special collection in your church on each of the next three Sundays. Please make your checks out to the Diocese of East Carolina and marked "Hurricane Katrina Disaster Fund." You may place the check in the offering plate for forwarding from your parish, or you may mail your contribution directly to PO Box 1336, Kinston NC 28503.
I will personally see to it that money raised will be divided equally among the four stricken dioceses and will send your contributions to the bishops of those dioceses for their discretionary purposes. In my own experience following Hurricane Floyd, the money sent directly to the Bishop for discretionary use for hurricane relief purposes was a gigantic help in responding to specific needs that could not be met in other ways. I have already sent each of the bishops in the affected dioceses an initial offering on your behalf and in the name of our diocese from discretionary funds at my disposal.
Thank you for your generous response and I ask your on-going prayers for those affected by this disaster.
A statement from Bishop Gray:
Our state has experienced a natural disaster of unprecedented proportions. Long time residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have noted that the damage and facilities from the storm will far exceed that of Hurricane Camille in 1969.
Thousands have lost their homes and those holy places of worship to which they have instinctively gone in times of crisis. Unconfirmed reports have indicated that at least six Episcopal Churches have been totally destroyed with serious damage to many others. It is a time of deep shock and grief and tears.
And it is a time of hope. Hundreds of Episcopalians from throughout this country have called offering help in many forms. Episcopal Relief and Development has provided immediate financial assistance. Our short and long term relief efforts will be coordinated through our newly formed Lutheran-Episcopal Services of Mississippi. Relief staging areas are being set up at Ascension Lutheran in Jackson and Church of the Ascension (Episcopal) in Hattiesburg. And yet there is a deeper foundation of hope. As Christians, we understand the power of death. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina brings us face to face with the reality of death and the despair when hope seems crushed. But we are a people of both the Cross and the Resurrection.
The last word from God is not death, but life. God uses the open hearts, minds and lives of faithful souls to renew, restore and redeem that which seems beyond hope.
We will work hand in hand with the people of the Gulf Coast to rebuild their homes and their churches. We will walk with them as bearers of hope through the work of our Crucified Lord. He has borne our grief, brought our sorrows into His heart and has become for us the vehicle and means for life and hope.
We are His witnesses. We shall be faithful.
Status of Coastal Churches
St. Paul's, Picayune
St. John's, Pascagoula<
St. John's, Ocean Springs
St. Peter's, Gulfport
St. Mark's, Gulfport
Christ, Bay St. Louis
Trinity, Pass Christian
St. Patrick's, Long Beach
St. Stephen's, Columbia
St. Thomas, Diamondhead
St. Pierre's, Gautier
Status of Coastal Clergy:
As of noon, Thursday, all coastal area clergy have reported in.
Bishop Gray will assist the Very Rev. Bo Roberts at a celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday morning at the site of St. Mark's, Gulfport, 9:30 a.m.
The Bishop has appointed the Rev. Horace Choate to be the Jackson area coordinator for our diocesan response. Choate is also part of the Lutheran Episcopal Disaster Response Network which is a part of our LESM organization.
INFORMATION ON MAKING DONATIONS: Please mail all checks to PO Box 23107, Jackson, MS, 39225-3107 with attention to LESM, ERD or the Diocese of Mississippi. There are three great conduits for donations in our diocese. Checks can be made payable to LESM, ERD or directly to the Diocese of Mississippi.
August 31, 2005
The Diocese of Mississippi has lost the structures for many of its coast area churches: St. Peter's by-the-Sea suffered extensive damage, although some of the walls are still standing; St. Mark's, Gulfport; Christ Church, Bay St. Louis and Redeemer, Biloxi are a total loss. Further details and updates are available at: http://www.dioms.org.
Relief efforts will be coordinated through the Diocesan Office by the Rev. Carol Stewart and Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi. The Diocese has received $25k in immediate relief funds from Episcopal Relief and Development in Mississippi. Monetary donations can be sent to the Diocesan Office, PO Box 23107, Jackson, 39225-3107 made out to LESM, earmarked "Disaster Response."
Physical donations should be taken to two locations until further notice: Ascension Lutheran Church, corner of Old Canton Rd and East County Line Rd., Jackson, MS 601-956-4263; or to Ascension Episcopal Church, Hattiesburg, 3600 Arlington Loop; 601-264-6773. Additional staging points will be listed as they are made available.
The Bishop of North Carolina
August 30, 2005
"...a plea for prayers would be appreciated. Pray for us."
Bishop of Louisiana
Brothers and Sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Yesterday, as Hurricane Katrina was making landfall and while he was evacuating the city, Bishop Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana, responding to a question about ways we can help those affected by Hurricane Katrina, sent the following written email to his brother and sister bishops:
"A request for prayers would be deeply appreciated. A category 4 storm hit on New Orleans would destroy our below-sea level city and likely end it. Tens of thousands of urban poor and elderly do not have the means to evacuate. The death toll will be phenomenal. A category 3 storm would put more than 20 feet of water in the city.... So, a plea for prayers would be appreciated. Pray for us."
I am writing, therefore, to ask all Episcopalians in our diocese to pray fervently for those affected by the storms of this summer in their personal devotions. Further, I am asking public prayers to be offered for those affected by the disaster at all public services of worship in the Diocese this Sunday, September 4, 2005.
While the full extent of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina is not known, the devastation is clearly massive and extensive. Episcopal Relief and Development is already responding to the crisis and is prepared to receive donations. Contributions to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) can be made as follows:
Online: US Hurricane Fund by credit card at http://episcopalrelief.org
Phone: 1.800.334.7626, ext. 5129
Mail: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101
An article on the Episcopal response to the disaster can be found on the diocesan website: http://www.episdionc.com .
May the presence of God bless, guide and uphold all who have suffered loss, hurt, harm and death in the storms of this summer.
Your brother in Christ,
+Michael B. Curry
A message from Bishop Frade-Hurricane Katrina relief
August 31, 2005
I know that you grieve with me for our neighbors along the Gulf Coast who have suffered such catastrophic damage and loss from Hurricane Katrina, as well as our nearer neighbors in our own communities who are dealing with the aftermath of severe flooding from the storm.
We all want to do what we can to help, so I am asking that at your earliest convenience, every parish in our diocese receive a special offering to assist those whose lives have been so devastated by this hurricane.
Checks should be made payable to the Diocese of Southeast Florida, designated for hurricane relief, and mailed to 525 NE 15 St., Miami, FL 33132. Donations can also be made online at http://www.diosef.org.
Click on "donations" and mark your contribution for "hurricane relief-designated for Hurricane Katrina".
You may also give through Episcopal Relief and Development, http://episcopalrelief.org, which has already begun sending funds into the affected dioceses. Most important, please continue to support with your prayers everyone affected by Hurricane Katrina, and pray also for guidance and generous hearts in our efforts to help.
Bishop, Diocese of Southeast Florida
Monday, August 29:
All diocesan clergy we have been able to contact since Friday morning have reported no serious damage from Hurricane Katrina, although a number of parishioners in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties are still without electricity and some in South Dade have problems with flooding.
If you, your parish or any parishioner needs help with supplies, repairs or clean-up after the storm, please call the Diocesan Office at 800.268.9993 or 305.373.0881, and let us know.
If you need to file a claim with Church Insurance, the number is 800-223-5705. Claim forms can be downloaded at http://www.cpg.org/cms/content/536_institution.cfm
Please keep in your prayers those who have suffered loss or damage, and those who are now in the path of this potentially devastating storm.
Further information from the Diocese of Southeast Florida is available online at: http://www.diosef.org/.
September 1, 2005
Dear clergy and people of the Diocese of Chicago,
Many of you are concerned about how we can best and most effectively respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. There are unlimited needs and many groups are mobilizing to bring aid. While numbers of churches have been totally destroyed and others badly damaged, existing churches and congregations are being used to feed and house refugees from the storm.
Most needed at this time are prayers and cash. I would encourage each congregation to raise a special offering for the U.S. Hurricane Fund of Episcopal Relief and Development. Also, please print the following and publicize it as widely as you can.
To make a contribution to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, please donate to the US Hurricane Fund by credit card at http://episcopalrelief.org or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.
As is so often the case, long after the TV cameras leave, the needs will continue.
Also, persons who are poor, who lack resources and insurance, will continue to suffer greatly. As part of the Episcopal Church, we have a special responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters whose lives have been so shaken. Of course, our love and care extend from them to all who need our prayers and support. I am confident that the people of our diocese will be generous in responding to this disaster.
Thank you and God bless you as you help to focus our response.
William D. Persell
Bishop of Chicago
Hurricane Katrina hits home for many here
(Sept. 1) For most Missourians, high clouds, a few showers, and $3-a-gallon gasoline may be the only signs of Hurricane Katrina's assault on the Gulf Coast, but for a number of families in the Diocese of Missouri, Katrina's effect is personal.
A number of refugees from the Gulf Coast have fled as far north as St. Louis, including the family of Linda Clingenpeel, wife of the dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Rev. Ron Clingenpeel.
"We have five people staying with us and are expecting more," said the dean, who formerly served as canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Louisiana.
His wife is a native of New Orleans and her parents fled ahead of the hurricane's arrival. It is feared their home is among those under water from flooding that followed the hurricane's strike on Monday.
The dean says members of the Cathedral congregation have helped out by bringing food to his south St. Louis home and that he has received offers of spare rooms to accommodate other relatives who may show up.
Two other members of the dean's staff, the Rev. Canon Renee Fenner and Lydia Ruffin, also have links to New Orleans.
Fenner's cousins live in Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis, Miss. She has spoken with them. They evacuated to shelters before the storm. She says their homes are flooded and she is considering inviting them to stay in St. Louis. Ruffin, who is the director of the Art & Soul Café at the Cathedral, is still waiting to hear from her mother, who lives in southern Louisiana.
Meanwhile, Bishop George Wayne Smith has been in contact with his brother bishops in Louisiana, the Central Gulf Coast, and Mississippi to ask what assistance the Diocese of Missouri can offer. They have accepted an offer to gather up and deliver gasoline-powered electrical generators. The Rev. Michael Kinman, the diocese's Campus Ministry coordinator, is coordinating the effort.
Reports from Mississippi say at least six Episcopal churches were destroyed and several others damaged.
Persons wishing to assist the hurricane victims are urged to make donations to Episcopal Relief & Development by going on line at http://episcopalrelief.org or calling (800) 334-7626, ext. 5129.
Sisters and brothers in Christ,
The news from the Gulf Coast continues to report the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, with the loss of life and property being incalculable. The thousands of people ravaged by this storm are to be kept in our prayers. I encourage each of our congregations and communicants to consider joining me in making a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) specifically for aid in this disaster. This can be accomplished by credit card at http://episcopalrelief.org, by telephone at 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129, or by mail at Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.
Please make this information available to all in your congregation.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio
The diocese and the Bishop are currently discerning some of the best immediate ways to help by contacting the dioceses that have been directly affected, as well as those in the surrounding areas. In the meantime, we encourage those who wish to offer immediate monetary assistance to either contribute to the Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), which has already dispersed nearly $100,000 in grants to dioceses who have been most affected by Katrina, or directly to the Diocese of Colorado. The Diocese of Colorado will accept monetary donations, which we will then apply to those areas we find to be in the greatest need.
The diocese will be sending communications to clergy and lay leaders in the coming days and weeks to advise them of opportunities to pool cash and in-kind donations, services and manpower to help the large number of people whose lives have been forever altered by these events.
Contact information for ERD: You can donate to the US Hurricane Fund by credit card at the ERD web site, http://episcopalrelief.org, or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101
Contributions to the Diocese of Colorado: 1300 Washington St., Denver, CO 80203, 303- 837-1173, 1-800-446-3081. Please specify donations for hurricane relief. The Diocese cannot process credit or debit card transactions at this time.
A Special Message from Bishop Burnett
September 1, 2005
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
I write to you today with a heavy heart from watching, over recent days and nights, the unfolding destruction, suffering, and turmoil in the Gulf South region of our country brought about by Hurricane Katrina. In recent years we have witnessed a number of major natural disasters around the globe, but this is one that for very personal reasons touches me deeply, because it has affected every single community in which I have lived and worked in Mississippi for most of my life.
As I write this I continue to receive updates, particularly from the Diocese of Mississippi and lay and clergy friends and family there, about the extent of devastation that has affected areas from the central Florida and Alabama coasts to the Mississippi gulf coast to New Orleans, to much of south Louisiana, and even stretching hundreds of miles inland, especially in south and central Mississippi. As you no doubt know already, there are unprecedented numbers of homeless, many of them already poor and dispossessed, resulting in a million or more refugees from the affected areas, not to mention the widespread economic, physical and social destruction.
Along the Mississippi coast, six of the ten Episcopal parishes have been confirmed as a total loss. . . One of the parishes destroyed, except for a shell of exterior nave walls still standing, is St. Peter's by-the-Sea in Gulfport, where I was rector for several years. Many of our friends and former parishioners there have lost homes and businesses, and many more are still unaccounted for. I have also received word from the Bishop of Louisiana that at least eleven parishes in the New Orleans area have been lost. On a personal note, I am glad to report that our two sons in the Hattiesburg area are safe. However, my niece, who is a United Methodist Minister on the coast, has been unable to get back into the area, but she and her husband have received reports that their home near the waterfront was swept away in the tidal surge.
I am writing to you now, my diocesan family, to urge that you consider giving generously to one or more of the many reputable relief efforts that are currently underway. One prominent option for Episcopalians is always Episcopal Relief and Development, which has helped us here in Nebraska in the past, and is already present and active and channeling funds into the affected areas. Donations to ERD can be made as follows with an indication that they are designated for hurricane relief: via ERD's website at http://episcopalrelief.org 24 hours a day; by calling ERD at 800/334-7626, extension 5129 Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard time; by sending a check payable to Episcopal Relief and Development, Box 12043, Newark, New Jersey 07101-5043.
Relief efforts in the Diocese of Mississippi will be coordinated through the diocesan office and Lutheran-Episcopal Services in Mississippi. Monetary donations can be sent to The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, PO Box 23107, Jackson, 39225-3107, and made out to LESM, earmarked "Disaster Response."
Some may also wish to contribute a portion of their gift, as I will, directly to the Bishop of Mississippi for discretionary use in recovery and restoration efforts. I would be pleased to channel such gifts to him, if you wish to send them to the Diocese of Nebraska for such a purpose.
A few parishes and individuals here in Nebraska have already made significant donations and offers of housing. One small congregation made a substantial gift right out of its invested funds. Another idea suggested was to have a special offering this Sunday, or on one of the Sundays to come. Any and all of these ideas and efforts are greatly needed, and much appreciated.
I am including below a listing of specific coastal congregations and their current situation in the Diocese of Mississippi that some of you may find helpful as you frame both personal and corporate prayers for those in peril and distress.
In closing I must say that the destruction and disruption is so profound all across the coastal region that even the bare essentials of life are still missing in most places. Unfortunately, the heroism of many dedicated rescuers seen in recent days is now being eclipsed by breakdowns in civil order, and by the seeming ineptitude and apparent sluggishness of current federal responses to a growing and dangerous crisis. This is another sort of tragedy, and it will no doubt be a story for another day.
In the meantime, may God bless us, our diocese, and our nation, with generosity, vision, and courageous action sufficient for times such as these. And, may God grant peace, rest, restoration, healing and renewal to the multitudes of people whose lives and property have been forever affected by this storm and its tragic aftermath.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
+The Right Reverend Joe G. Burnett
The Rt. Rev. Bruce Caldwell has declared Sunday September 11 - Hurricane Relief Sunday to collect funds for ER-D.
Churches are organizing to provide a new start for refugees.
A member of St. Matthew's Cathedral is cooking at the Astrodome for refugees.
Hurricane Katrina Relief
A number of people have inquired about sending help to our neighbors in Mississippi and Louisiana. There will obviously be long term needs that can be addressed for months to come, but there is immediate need for emergency cash. To that end we will be sending both bishops what assistance we can immediately pull together. If you and your congregations wish to help with this, please send donations marked for "emergency relief" to: The Diocese of Arkansas, P.O. Box 164668, Little Rock AR 72216-4668.
Thank you for all of your calls and concern. Most of all, keep our brothers and sisters in your prayers. If you hear about victims from Louisiana or Mississippi who have come to the central Arkansas area and need assistance, have them contact the Red Cross first and foremost. They are prepared and equipped to handle these victims. The Red Cross has a Crisis Response headquarters set up at the Little Rock Hilton and they are the best resource at this point.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has provided a list of Emergency Shelters - staffed by Red Cross.
Contact your county emergency management representative or local Red Cross Chapter. (501) 748-1030 - Greater Arkansas- Red Cross
Also, All Saints School in Vicksburg has called. They have no electricity, and have no idea when that will be restored. They would like to borrow three gas generators to help cool their 80+ students at night. If you can help in any way, please be in touch with Carole Martin at (601) 636-7620.
Sept. 1, 2005
Our thoughts and prayers are with the hundreds of thousands of people who have been severely affected by Hurricane Katrina. This massive storm has devastated homes, churches, schools, businesses and manufacturing facilities throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. The destructiveness of this storm is without parallel in U.S. history, and it will take many years to fully restore the region.
Bishop Charles Jenkins reports the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana alone has lost at least 18 churches, and the diocesan offices in New Orleans are flooded and have been looted.
He has established temporary offices in Baton Rouge and is seeking to co-ordinate efforts to assist the diocese from there. The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi reports six churches destroyed along the Gulf coast, and they have not heard from five others.
In Kansas, we are very familiar with the deadly destruction the winds can bring, and we know from past experience how the assistance of others can make the burden lighter. On behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas I have sent contributions from the Bishop's Discretionary Fund to Episcopal Relief and Development to assist people living in the dioceses of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Central Gulf Coast.
I invite you to contribute generously to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering so mightily as a result of this storm. Episcopal Relief and Development already has released money to aid the victims of this tragedy and will continue to assist those in need, as Presiding Bishop Griswold has commented, "long after the television cameras have left."
I urge all parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas to receive special donations this Sunday to benefit Episcopal Relief and Development. Then, please send one check from your parish to the diocesan office, and we will unite those gifts in one contribution to ERD, to represent the prayers and offerings of all our people.
Please make your parish's check payable to "Episcopal Diocese of Kansas" and mark on the memo line "ERD." Please mail it to our office at 835 SW Polk Street, Topeka, KS 66612.
If you wish to make an additional donation to ERD on your own, please see their website, http://episcopalrelief.org
A special prayer this Sunday
I also ask that all parishes use this prayer this Sunday during worship:
We, the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas ask that you be with the people of the Gulf Coast region as they bear a nearly unbearable burden as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Guard those who are in mortal danger and assist those who bravely serve as rescuers, caregivers and peacekeepers. Comfort all those who have lost loved ones as a result of this terrible storm, and grant them rest and peace. Turn the hearts of those who see this as an opportunity to inflict harm upon their fellow human beings. Be with all those who have no place to lay their head and grant them strength and fortitude to endure the difficult days ahead. Give to us generous hearts, O God, that we might seek to bear our brothers' and sisters' burdens as if they were our own. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the Lord comfort the people of the Gulf Coast and bless the Episcopal Church as it ministers to the people of that storm-torn region.
The Right Reverend Dean Elliott Wolfe
Ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas
SAINT FRANCIS ACADEMY TO HOUSE MISSISSIPPI EVACUEES
Saint Francis Academy in Atchison has been asked to find housing for 12 developmentally disabled adults, along with three staff members, who have been evacuated from the agency's Bridgewater Apartments in Picayune, Mississippi. They will arrive in Kansas on Friday, Sept. 2.
The Rev. Gail Davis, director of the Atchison facility, said she expects the refugees to be there for several weeks and perhaps months. Other evacuees are being sent to Saint Francis facilities in Western Kansas.
She said the need now is for money to purchase food and other necessities those arriving in Atchison might lack.
To help with these expenses, send a check made payable to "Saint Francis Academy" and mark it "Bridgewater evacuees" and mail it to the main headquarters of the agency:
Saint Francis Academy
509 South Elm Street
Salina, KS 67401
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have been in contact with Bishop Charles Jenkins from the Diocese of Louisiana and Bishop Duncan Gray of the Diocese of Mississippi as well as others in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina to offer our prayers and assistance during this most distressing time. We have an opportunity to show our neighbors what One Church looks like in the face of adversity and as our prayers continue to go out to those in need, we are gathering resources.
The Episcopal Foundation of Texas today voted to send an emergency grant of $50,000 to both the Dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi. In addition to that $100,000, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas will collect a special offering this Sunday, September 4, 2005 from its 158 congregations with a goal of $100,000 to fund $50 food cards be distributed to persons displaced by Hurricane Katrina. I ask you to give generously to this effort as the need is great and long-term.
You may send donations to the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, 3203 West Alabama, Houston, TX 77098 earmarked for Katrina Relief. You may also send donations to Episcopal Relief and Development at http://episcopalrelief.org 24 hours a day; by calling ERD at 800/334-7626, extension 5129 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard time; by sending a check payable to Episcopal Relief and Development, Box 12043, Newark, New Jersey 07101-5043.
While there is frustration in waiting for an assessment of specific needs, financial help is critical to meet the immediate crisis. Many of our churches are gathering non-perishable food, diapers, clothing and water. These items will be dispersed to area disaster relief organizations as the needs become known. Holy Comforter, Spring; St. Peter's, Brenham; Palmer Memorial, Houston and many other congregations are preparing food for those refugees in hotels in their local.
We have received a number of calls offering housing. At this time, we do not have specific information from emergency authorities about this need or how it might be administered. At such time as we have additional information, we will distribute it. Please monitor local news outlets for information on this subject, since the needs will vary around the diocese.
Camp Allen, the diocesan Camp and conference center has made short-term housing available through the bishops' offices in Louisiana and Mississippi. Due to pre-booked events, only weeknight rooms were made available at the Episcopal rate of $65 per night including meals.
The Rev. Robert Wells, director of the Community of Hope at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, is coordinating clergy and trained Community of Hope chaplains to be available to assist with the thousands of persons displaced by Katrina. If you are a Community of Hope-trained chaplain or clergy and are interested in volunteering, contact him at 832.355.8428.
St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital has been asked to take patients from Tulane University Hospital and continues to work with other Texas Medical Center hospital to coordinate their response to the critical care needs of incoming families.
May we together pray: God of mercy and compassion, be in our midst and bind us together in your Spirit as a community of love and service to bear one another's burdens in these days as we face the ravages of storm and sea. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord from whom alone comes our hope.
Don A. Wimberly
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are all well aware of the destruction that has been wreaked upon the people of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi and many others. I write now to bring you up to date on what has taken place and what I pray we will do in response to this natural disaster.
As in the past, Hardtner Camp and Conference Center has served as a place of refuge for residents of some of the nursing homes south of New Orleans. What little bed space remained has been utilized to provide housing for some families that were without housing. Some of our congregations have availed their parish halls to many who escaped from the ravage of the storm and struggle to keep them cared for. Many of you have inquired as to what you can do to help, and for this I am ever grateful.
Since the outbreak of Katrina, I have sought to communicate with Bishop Jenkins of Louisiana and Bishop Gray of Mississippi, and to no avail as all of the communications, including cell phones, are out. Bishop Jenkins was out of the diocese visiting his son when all of this began to take place and consequently unable to get home prior to the area being hit. Their diocesan office is in the midst of the area that has been impacted severely.
In order to make contact, I have left word with family members and other areas in the event they hear from them, and have asked they be advised of my need to speak with them.
Our diocesan office has had only limited, and I mean very limited, phone service and we have no e-mail capabilities. I have just returned home from Dio House in order to get this message out to you.
Needless to say, in a day of such vast electronic communication, not being able to communicate is most frustrating.
I interrupt this note to say that Bishop Jenkins has just called and spoken with me, and he is passing through our diocese enroute to Baton Rouge at this moment. In asking what they need most at this time, his response was, "We really don't know because we don't know the details at this moment other than much is gone."
Thus, I am asking that all of you encourage a special offering this Sunday, and request those who are able, to send special offerings to a fund being established this day - Katrina Relief. The funds should be forwarded to our diocesan office, and we will in turn work directly with both bishops and provide the support made available. I am also seeking to learn what is needed besides bottled water, toiletries, and baby formula, and will advise you. I have received offers from a couple of congregations to serve as collection sites, and I know a couple of other convocations are ready to serve in this capacity as well.
Please know that the establishment of this special fund is in no way an avoidance of the Episcopal Relief and Development office in New York,