A Message from Bishop Stokes
on the Earthquake in Ecuador
Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,

            "....weep with those who weep."   Romans 12:15

Our brothers and sisters in Ecuador have suffered a devastating earthquake. Ecuador Litoral was most affected. More than 270 people have been killed. The death toll is expected to rise.  More than 2,500 were injured. There has been widespread damage, especially in some of the coastal areas and cities. Through our Companion Diocese Committee, we are already taking steps by which we as a diocese can respond.

Members of the Companion Diocese Committee have already been in touch with people on the ground in Ecuador. The report is very sad. Paul Murphy, Co-Chair of the Companion Diocese Committee with The Rev. Cn. Pedro Guzman, has contacted The Reverend Glenda McQueen, Episcopal Church Officer for South America and Caribbean Mission so that we can work with The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief and Development in a coordinated way.

From my own experience in South Florida, I know how important it is to work with the local bishop in instances like this. We will work closely with Bishop Alfredo Morante and the Diocese of Ecuador Litoral who will assess the needs and help us know how we can be of the most assistance and support.

The Companion Diocese Committee will be meeting this Wednesday as they begin to outline how we can best serve our brothers and sisters in our companion dioceses swiftly, effectively and over the long haul, just as so many responded to our needs following Super Storm Sandy. I will be joining them for this meeting. We will communicate with you so that you may be generous in your aid.

Please pray for the people of Ecuador, for Bishop Alfredo Morante and our brothers and sisters in Ecuador Litoral and for Bishop Victor Scantlebury and our brothers and sisters in Ecuador Central.  I offer a prayer I wrote following Hurricane Katrina for your use.

Blessings and peace,
The Right Reverend William H. Stokes
Bishop of New Jersey

A Prayer for the Victims of the Earthquake in Ecuador

Holy God, source of life, lover of souls, out of the depths we call to you; in the face of anguish and sorrow, we lift the cries of our distress and implore you to show mercy upon those who are suffering from the destruction of the earthquake in Ecuador.  We pray for those who have died and for their loved ones who grieve. asking you to hold them in the arms of your love; we pray for those who have been injured in body, mind or spirit and ask you to heal them; we pray for those who are homeless and wandering, for families torn asunder and ask you to shelter them. Strengthen the hands and hearts of those who assist in relief efforts and grant us all firm resolve to stand with our neighbors who are in need, to love them and to offer our generous support of them in this their time of trouble; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.