Responding to Hurricane Michael
I want to echo some of the same concerns many of you have expressed to me. While I share a sense of loss and sadness whenever there is tragedy in the world, the storms and damage from Hurricane Michael feel especially close to home. Our previous Associate Rector, Donna Gerald, pastors a congregation in Apalachicola, and our former Rector, Bishop Russell Kendrick, is charged with the care of Episcopal Churches and their communities in the central gulf coast including those impacted by the storm. They have faced unfathomable damage and the road to recovery will be long and challenging.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture comes from 1 Kings when Elijah is standing on the mountain before the Lord. Elijah faces wind and fire, earthquake and storm, and then silence. And in the silence and the aftermath, God is there. Our Christian faith teaches us that God is always present, especially in the silence that follows great tragedy. I think it is often how we respond that defines us and shapes our faith and understanding of the Incarnate God.
While many of us want to respond in an Incarnationally way with a physical presence in the recovery efforts, the best way to help at this time is financial. Bishop Russell and the Episcopal Church in the Central Gulf Coast are grateful for the outpouring of love and care. While they would love to welcome us to the area, they have reiterated that the best way to care at this time is to respond with financial support. You can make a gift to the Hurricane Relief Fund operated by the Episcopal Church of the Central Gulf Coast by clicking here.
Our Deacon, CJ Van Slyke, is working with Xan Glover and Seymour West to formulate a response. They are in conversation with both Bishop Russell and his diocese. When the time is right and most helpful, Saint Stephen's will be able to respond in presence as well. They are working to put a plan in place for trips to either work or bring supplies. We will continue to keep you up to date.
Please continue to hold the communities impacted by Hurricane Michael in your prayers.