Hurricane relief: Bishops voice gratitude, describe fund use

December 20, 2005

Joint statement by:

The Rt. Rev. Harry B. Bainbridge III, Chairman, Episcopal Relief and Development
The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Jenkins, Diocese of Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray III, Diocese of Mississippi

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

All three of us are deeply grateful for the outpouring of generosity by Episcopalians around the country. Never before have we seen the Church so united in its care and support as it has been for those suffering from the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina. All of the organizations we represent have received support from around the country in the aftermath of the disaster which befell the country following Hurricane Katrina. Thank you for your prayers and for your generosity.

Since each of the organizations we represent is collecting funds for hurricane relief and recovery, we feel that it would helpful for us to explain the different ways those funds will be utilized by each of our institutions.

Episcopal Relief and Development

According to IRS guidelines, as a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, Episcopal Relief and Development must use donations for its stated mission of disaster relief and development assistance. This mission requires ERD to target funds for its humanitarian purposes as well as establish criteria to demonstrate its programs address those who were marginalized and impoverished prior to and as a result of the disaster. In light of these guidelines and ERD's mandate, donations for Hurricane Katrina are earmarked for human services to help those most vulnerable # the poor, destitute and distressed. With more than $15 million contributed so far in response to the hurricanes, the Dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi are working in partnership with ERD on a multi-year recovery program focusing on psychosocial care, health and housing recovery, livelihood renewal and small business development. These are prophetic and ambitious ministries and we look forward to watching each of them bear fruit.

Dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi

Both the Diocese of Louisiana and Mississippi suffered considerable institutional damage as a result of the hurricane. Six churches in Mississippi were completely destroyed and every church in New Orleans suffered damage. In many instances, congregations have been dispersed throughout the country. Clergy and lay staff face very difficult challenges as both dioceses seek to restore their physical and human resources infrastructures. For these reasons, the Diocese of Mississippi and the Diocese of Louisiana are both actively raising money to rebuild the many Episcopal churches destroyed or severely damaged and to cover salaries for clergy and laity who have been effectively cut off from their sources of income.
Regrettably, ERD is unable to support the institutional and church infrastructure needs of the Dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi with funds that are donated for humanitarian purposes.

ERD and the Dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi are committed to working in a coordinated and mutually supportive fashion as we rebuild the ministries of the Episcopal Church in the Gulf Coast region. We hope you will join us in this long-term effort.
We wish everyone a peaceful Advent season and a blessed Christmas.

To make a donation to rebuild churches and support diocesan institutional needs in Louisiana and Mississippi, contact:

Diocese of Louisiana
Phone: 225-387-5141 / Fax: 225-387-1443

Mail donations to:
St. James Church/ Attn: Bishop's Office
P.O. Box 126
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0126
*Be sure to mark the check for "Diocesan Rebuilding Fund"
The Diocese's Tax ID Number: 72-0475542

Diocese of Mississippi
Phone: 1-866-550-0872 / Fax: 601-354-3401

Mail checks designated for "Diocesan Rebuilding Fund" to:
PO BOX 23107
Jackson, MS 39225-3107
The Diocese's Tax ID Number: 64 303 076