The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Hurricane Harvey

Our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana need our help.”

Jump down to an update from the Diocese of Texas – 5 p.m., August 29

August 29, 2017

Long ago the prophet Malachi taught that we are all children of God by virtue of our creation by the same God. “Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us,” he asked (2:10). Jesus taught the same thing when he told a story about a Good Samaritan. We are indeed all the children of God. And if we are all God’s children, then we are all brothers and sisters.

In our recent days, we have watched and witnessed the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana need our help.

Episcopal Relief & Development reminds us not to send food, clothing or other items because affected dioceses have limited or no capacity to receive, store or distribute goods. It is more efficient and better for the local economy to make a donation.

Episcopal Relief & Development already has actions in place for assistance.

· 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, check 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 our fellow Episcopalians minister to those in need they need our help not just now or in the short term, but for the long haul. Our support of Episcopal Relief & Development is a tangible, practical, effective and reliable way to do that, keep in your prayers for the people in Texas and Louisiana whose lives have been forever changed by Hurricane Harvey.

Together we are the human family of God and our efforts in times like these truly help bring God’s love and ours to our sisters and brothers in great need.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church


Additional links:

From the Diocese of Texas

From the Diocese of West Texas (where Harvey made landfall): 

From Episcopal News Service 


Update from the Diocese of Texas by Director of Communication Carol Barnwell:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has taken first steps in a robust response to now Tropical Storm Harvey, even as rain and flooding continue to threaten southeast Texas. Spiritual care teams have deployed to the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is housing 9,000 plus evacuees. The Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday that he had requested 10,000 more cots from FEMA and was opening additional emergency centers in the Greater Houston area.

By the weekend, Archdeacon Russ Oechsel, head of the diocesan disaster relief efforts, said he would have dozens of deacons and lay chaplains deployed to the hardest hit neighborhoods to offer comfort and emergency funds to people who were flooded.

At the same time, the Very Rev. Barkley Thompson, dean of Christ Church Cathedral is helping to coordinate the cardinal rectors of Houston’s largest Episcopal churches to respond to the most pressing assessed needs, whether that be space for mission teams, feeding programs and/or funding.

“Our response will come in several ways, and will be long term,” said Bishop Andy Doyle. “We will reach out to our communities through the efforts of Russ, the cardinal rectors and Episcopal Relief and Development, and the diocesan staff will work diligently and urgently to get our affected congregations up and running so that they can serve their immediate communities.”

Episcopal Relief and Development has already provided emergency funds for some of this work and the diocese is accepting donations at Church Pension Group, the Church’s insurance arm, has the capacity to deploy teams to assess the damage to church property and help remediate those issues, said Linda Mitchell, COO of the diocese. She said she had already been in touch with them.
Clergy and heads of congregations will receive online training in best practices for response from Episcopal Relief and Development this week and special liturgical resources will also be provided ( for link). I continue to give thanks for all those around the world who are praying for South Texas and for this Diocese. It is of great comfort to us to know that we are connected to and supported by the larger Body of Christ.

One of the most heartening things to witness during this protracted tragedy is the volunteer response from people who just “want to help.” Robert Jordan, senior warden of Trinity, Baytown was in a boat helping to rescue people when he answered a call from diocesan officials to check on the church. He is one of thousands who put their faith to work in the high water.

“I give thanks for each of you who have offered a warm, dry bed, a hot meal or simply comfort to your neighbors,” said Bishop Doyle. “While it is frustrating to see so much devastation and not be able to fix it, we must first be safe and not create more work for our first responders. Where you have been able to help, it is the reflection of Christ’s love that is shared and it is this love that will bring hope in the darkest moments for many people.”

For now, BE SAFE AND DONATE.  If you are safe, then be a good neighbor and help your neighbors. Give funds to EDOT<> or to Episcopal Relief and Development.<> ERD and diocesan staffs have already begun to help coordinate relief efforts. PRAY for all who are in harm’s way, those who have been displaced and have suffered so much loss, our government officials, volunteers and all of our first responders as well as the media who has worked without rest to bring us this unfolding story. All of these people need our unceasing prayer.

Once the flooding is over, the diocese will coordinate relief efforts as soon as it is safe, working collaboratively with our congregations to make the most impact for both church members and our communities.

“We will face this together. We have a tremendous opportunity to help our communities heal over the coming months and in the long term,” Bishop Doyle said. “This is our call and I am grateful to be with you on this journey, challenging as it is. Thanks be to God.”

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