Responding to Hurricane Harvey
 
August 29, 2017
 
Credit: Texas Military Dept., Lt. Zachary West , 100th MPAD; Creative Commons license

Dear fellow Episcopalians in Connecticut: 
 
Right now our sisters and brothers in Christ in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas are working faithfully to address the flooding crisis caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and in surrounding communities, even into the neighboring state.

We have been in contact with the Bishops of Texas and have assured them of our prayers. The Rt. Rev. C. Andy Doyle, Bishop Diocesan of Texas, is very appreciative of our expression of concern and prayers. He has asked us to spread the word that anyone wishing to donate to assist with relief efforts should contribute through Episcopal Relief and Development, linked here. Bishop Laura and I have directed that $2500 be sent to them from the ECCT Emergency Reserve Fund. We both have given personally, as well. We urge all parishes and individuals in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to give generously. 

Please do keep the people of Houston and the Episcopal Church in Texas in your thoughts and prayers as they respond to yet another unprecedented storm in our world. 

Faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan
Presiding Bishop's Message on Hurricane Harvey

Message from Mike Corey,
ECCT Disaster Response Ministry Network

Currently most of the Texas Gulf coast is in the response phase to Hurricane Harvey. In the coming days parts of the coast will move in to the recovery phase of the disaster, while new areas, particularly in Louisiana, ramp up response efforts. There is no doubt that Harvey's impact will be felt for months and years to come.

When disasters such as Hurricane Harvey strike we all want to help in some way. All too often the desire to help becomes a secondary disaster - items get donated that are not needed, volunteers arrive that are unattached to an organization, or organizations that no one has ever heard of start asking for contributions. The best thing you can do is to help in a smart way, here's how:  
  • Help financially - you can make a donation through Episcopal Relief and Development. To learn more about the power of a financial donation visit National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and check out the Donate Responsibly Campaign.
     
  • Do not self deploy - if you would like to volunteer to do relief work in Texas or Louisiana do so through one of the disaster response organizations, such as Episcopal Relief and Development. You may contact me at mpcorey@gmail.com, to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
     
  • Avoid scams - unfortunately disasters often bring out those who will take advantage of the suffering of others. If an individual or organization asks for a contribution check them out. Feel free to contact Mike Corey if you have any concerns or questions.
     
  • Donation of Items - it is best to make a financial contribution to the relief effort, as that can be used for a wide variety of needs. Only donate items that are specifically requested by a relief organization.
     
  • Pray - Please continue to hold up in your prayers the disaster survivors, those lost, those responding, and the families near and far waiting to hear from their loved ones.
-- Mike Corey is co-convener, with the Rev. Molly James, of ECCT's Disaster Response Ministry Network. He is also Episcopal Relief & Development's designated Diocesan Disaster Coordinator for Connecticut. He works professionally as a disaster preparedness manager for American Radio Relay League and is president of CT VOAD (Connecticut Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster).  
Prayer by Bishop Andy Doyle, IX Bishop of Texas, 8/27/17

Heavenly Father, in your Word you have given us a vision of that holy City where the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Sustain those displaced by the storm with food, drink, and all other bodily necessities of life. We especially remember before you all poor and neglected persons it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, we may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN. 
Links to resources
  • To donate to the Hurricane Harvey Response Fund to support impacted dioceses as they meet the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors after this event, link here.

  • Sign-up on the Ready to Serve database to register as a possible volunteer in the future. Episcopal Relief & Development staff share these lists with dioceses when they are ready to recruit external volunteers.
     
  • Bulletin insert for use this Sunday is available here.
     
  • The latest Episcopal Relief & Development program updates are available on Facebook and Twitter @EpiscopalRelief and as a press release here. 

  • The Episcopal Diocese of Texas' offices are in Houston. Link to their website here for articles and blog posts.
Credit: Coast Guard News, Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland; Creative Commons License

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