The Rt. Rev. David Reed Calls for Diocesan Response to Hurricanes Fiona and Ian
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last week, Hurricane Ian devastated a large part of Florida, becoming one of the worst storms to hit the continental United States in its history. Recovery in many areas will be measured in years. The hardest hit area of the state includes the Diocese of Southwest Florida. The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith told me that 24 of his 73 churches suffered significant harm, ranging from some structural damage to “total destruction.” I’m also mindful that this follows the damage done in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Fiona by less than two weeks.
I have sent relief funds on behalf of the Diocese of West Texas to both dioceses and ask that the victims of these two storms be remembered in your church’s prayers in the coming weeks.
Additionally, I call upon our churches to take up a special offering on a Sunday in October to support our brothers and sisters in Southwest Florida and Puerto Rico. After designating one Sunday this month, I ask that clergy make the offering known within their congregation. The gathered offering will be sent to Bishop Smith and Bishop Rafael Morales of the Diocese of Puerto Rico to assist their people and churches directly.
Checks should be made payable to the Diocese of West Texas, noted for “Hurricane Relief,” and sent to the mailing address below*. Individual donations may be submitted online, at dwtx.org/give.
Information about relief efforts, prayers specific to Hurricane Season, and ongoing opportunities to help can be found on the Episcopal Relief and Development website, at episcopalrelief.org/hurricane-relief.
We have been here. Most of our coastal region knows the impact of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and we remember how support came to us in so many forms from all over the country. Most of our congregations have faced the short- and long-term challenges of recovery and rebuilding in the wake of one disaster or another. Please be prayerful, and generous.
Finally, this seems like a good time to remind our clergy and lay leaders of the need to add members to the diocesan Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee. Our goal is for it to include at least two persons (lay or clergy) from each of our seven convocations. We all know that no part of our Diocese is immune to major disaster. Contact committee chair, Jason Louis at email@example.com, if you are interested in serving in this significant ministry.
Thank you for your prayerful response to this appeal. God bless you.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Bishop of West Texas
*The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas
Attn: Hurricane Relief
P.O. Box 6885
San Antonio, TX 78209
A Prayer for Those Working to Rebuild
Compassionate God, source of all comfort, we pray for the people whose lives have been devastated this hurricane season. Bring them comfort, we pray. Protect the vulnerable. Strengthen the weak. Keep at bay the spread of disease. Have mercy on all those working to rebuild. And may our response to their suffering be generous and bring you praise. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Adapted from Christian Aid, UK
Click here for more prayers from Episcopal Relief & Development.