January 23, 2017
Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with church leaders in areas of the southern and southeastern US that were impacted by tornadoes over January 21-23. According to reports, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Albany, Georgia, were particularly hard hit. Many people are homeless and in need of food, shelter and clothing. At least 20 people died across several states.
In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, two Episcopal congregations are in the area directly affected by the tornado. According to the diocesan website of The Episcopal Church in Mississippi, The Episcopal Church of the Ascension and Trinity Episcopal Church were unharmed. Episcopal Relief & Development stands ready to support the diocese as it works with congregations to assess needs and develop its response.
St. John & St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in the Radium Springs area of Albany, Georgia, has extensive programs and connections in its community that are enabling the church to identify people in need of assistance. Local businesses are able to supply food, clothes and other needed items for relief and recovery. The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia posted photos of damage to its Facebook page following a visit from Bishop Scott Benhase.
Donations to the Bishop’s Fund in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia will assist with church needs related to insurance deductibles and church property that was damaged.
Contributions to Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Fund will enable the organization to support outreach and aid to affected individuals and families.
Please pray for all those affected by the recent storms, and for the first responders who are working to reach those in need and ensure the safety of their communities.
A Prayer for First Responders
Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy, who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity and the great commandment of love for one another. Send down your blessings on these your servants, who so generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work. When the alarm sounds and they are called to aid both friend and stranger, let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor. We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.
— Adapted from the Book of Blessings, #587, by Diana Macalintal