From the Rector
In barely over a week, we’ve witnessed from afar one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in our nation’s history. The death toll will likely continue to rise, and the amount of property destruction is difficult to imagine. Much as with Hurricane Katrina, we will all be haunted by the images of flooded neighborhoods and desperate people clinging to roofs. I know you’ve been praying, and I hope you’ll keep it up.
Before I say anything else, I hope you’ll take a moment, if you haven’t already, and make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development or the American Red Cross. Please don’t message me with critiques of the Red Cross, as now is not the time for cynicism. I’ve already donated to both ERD and the Red Cross, and I hope you will, too.
Thousands have fled to Dallas from the Gulf Coast, and it is possible that thousands more will wind up here once they determine that their homes are unsalvageable. Many are staying in shelters, and there is a coordinated effort to provide for their needs. You can donate time, money, or resources to this local relief through Trusted World or Voly.org.
I am proud to announce that Colin Hills, who just ended his role as Director of Youth Ministries, has agreed to serve as coordinator for our relief efforts. He is working together with the Rev. Keith Turbeville, who directs the disaster response ministry of the Diocese of Dallas, and we are already beginning to coordinate with other churches to determine a future course of action. Colin and Bracken Reece, our Director of Operations, will travel to the Gulf Coast next week to meet with leaders of the Diocese of Texas and the Diocese of West Texas determine how best to deploy teams of volunteers. We don’t have any details yet, but our hope is to facilitate teams from around the diocese to help with the cleanup and recovery. This is likely to be like Katrina, in that the recovery effort will take years, so we are trying to be patient and smart in how we prepare and deploy our resources.
If you have skills or past experience in disaster relief or recovery, or if you would like to be considered for a future trip to the disaster area to help, please email Colin at email@example.com.
We are also accepting donations to Transfiguration to be used to purchase heavily-requested supplies that Colin will take to the Gulf Coast next week (e.g. bleach, mildew removal, trash bags, and hygiene kits). Checks may be written to Transfiguration with “Harvey Relief” in the memo line, or you may put cash in offering envelopes with “Harvey Relief” written on the outside.
Lastly, as I’ve looked at social media these past few days, I want to remind everyone that we can promote a radically compassionate response to disaster victims without hurling insults and ridicule at those who fall short. Shaming people is not something Christians do. Also, by choosing to help some people who are recovering from Harvey, it doesn’t mean we are choosing not to help others. By the grace of God, we will do everything we can for all we can for as long as we can.