The Commission for Disaster Preparedness and Response of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas works in collaboration with churches, the diocese, and local organizations to respond to disasters, to provide support for full and sustained community recovery, and to share disaster preparedness resources.
The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and the commission recommend all diocesan churches and institutions utilize one of the three Preparedness Planning Guides provided by Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) as a first step towards disaster preparedness.
Disasters can occur at any time of year and may come with little or no warning. It is increasingly important for all diocesan institutions to have a preparedness plan in place before a disaster occurs, whether it is a hurricane, flood, fire, tornado, active shooter event, or other catastrophic occurrence. A disaster is an overwhelming experience, but there are actions individuals and churches can take ahead of time to help ease the process. All disaster recovery efforts benefit from a foundational level of preparedness.
After completing one of the disaster preparedness plans below, the diocesan Commission on Disaster Preparedness and Response encourages making a physical copy of the plan available in an easy to access and well-marked location. Educate staff and congregational leaders about the plan and its location. The commission also recommends storing a digital copy online, so that it can be accessed off-site.
Proactively creating even the most basic disaster plan is critically important for our churches and schools.
On August 27, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas as a Category 4 major hurricane and proceeded to cut a path of destruction across the gulf coast. Twenty-three churches within the Episcopal Diocese ofWest Texas serve in counties declared Federal Disaster Areas in Harvey's wake, and while many church properties weathered the storm unharmed, wind and wind-driven water, tornadic activity, and flooding ravaged the communities surrounding them.
Responding to this disaster, Episcopal churches in the region transformed into meeting places and resource centers, and support poured into the region from within the diocese, donors around the nation, and foundation grants. Local church and community representatives collaborated with, the diocese and the Bishop’s Deputy for Disaster Recovery to purchase supplies for volunteer teams; facilitate volunteer group housing; and award emergency grants to families, local agencies, and diocesan groups working to recover.
By the end of 2019, the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas distributed over 1.5 million dollars donated for relief and recovery efforts in the region, due to the extreme generosity of Episcopal Relief and Development and the American Red Cross, as well as individual and church donations. Click here to read more.