August 29, 2017
Beloved in Christ:
People in Texas and Louisiana need our help. We are all watching the search and rescue efforts underway in eastern Texas and in particular in the Houston area – but that is only part of the story. The early reports out of storm-ravaged areas are unable to convey the widespread damage and long-term needs of the people displaced because of it.
Nobody knows a community as well as the people who live in it. I invite you to join with me to use our church networks to get money directly to the people who are on the front lines of the local response. The dioceses of Texas, West Texas (which contains Corpus Christi, Rockport and other coastal communities) and the Diocese of Western Louisiana (Port Charles and more) will be coordinating efforts on the ground. I know the people who will be doing this work, and that they will be tireless in their response.
Let’s join together to help the army of local people providing hands-on relief. You can make a donation in one of two ways:
- Donate by credit card online, directly to our churchwide relief agency, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) here: http://www.episcopalrelief.org/hurricane-harvey-response
- If you prefer to write a check, you can make it payable to “Episcopal Charities Fund of RI,” write “Hurricane Harvey Relief” in the memo line, and either mail it to Episcopal Charities, 275 N. Main St., Providence, RI 02903 or give it to your priest to forward to us. We will then send one large donation to ERD.
Money will help the most. If you want to do more, you can sign up on the Ready to Serve database to register as a possible volunteer in the future. https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-you-can-do/volunteer/ready-to-serve
ERD reminds us not to send food, clothing or other items because affected areas have limited or no capacity to receive, store or distribute goods. Making a monetary donation is more efficient, and better for the local economy.
Prayer matters too. I believe prayer changes things, and I ask us all to keep the people who have been impacted by this terrible storm in our prayers.
This prayer from our Book of Common Prayer seems particularly appropriate to use this weekend:
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 124)
ERD offers this prayer for those responding to disasters:
Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy, who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity and the great commandment of love for one another. Send down your blessings on your servants, who so generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work. When the alarm sounds and they are called to aid both friend
and stranger, let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (adapted from the Book of Blessings, #587, Diana Macalintal)
If you wish to share more information about the Church’s continued response to Harvey, here are some additional resources:
- A bulletin insert for use this Sunday is available here.
- The latest Episcopal Relief & Development program updates are available on Facebook, Twitter (@EpiscopalRelief) and on their website.
- Check the Episcopal Church website for updates and important information.
Thank you for your compassion and generosity,
The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely
Bishop, The Diocese of Rhode Island