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Issue #41 | August 2016

A Note from the Team

Hi All,

Over the last few weeks, dioceses in several states have been responding as they are able to disasters, including wildfires and floods. Please join us in praying for those affected, and read more about local responses in the article below. 

September is National Preparedness Month, and across the country, Episcopalians are planning to take steps to make their churches and communities a little bit more resilient. In this issue, you will find links to several bulletin inserts that can be published in diocesan and church newsletters or on social media to help spread the message of disaster preparedness. We’ve also compiled a list of some of our favorite preparedness activities.

Try them out. Let us know how they go, and definitely send us photos!

In Peace,
Katie, Lura, Sara and Tamara  

Current US Disasters

Several areas of the United States have been hit by disasters over the last month. In particular, the Gulf Coast area, Maryland and California have experienced major flooding and wildfires. Many of these situations are still developing.

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting diocesan leaders along the Gulf Coast who are coordinating flood response efforts after several days of heavy rainfall across the region. According to FEMA, the slow-moving storm brought 10-20 inches of rain to Louisiana and the surrounding states beginning August 11, and flooding continues although the heaviest rain has moved on. Read more about the response, and download the bulletin inserts here (PDF) (JPG). 

The historic mill town of Ellicott City, Maryland was hit with several inches of rain in late July 2016, closing more than 150 businesses and displacing more than 100 people. Read more about the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland's response. 

Wildfires in California and others states have led to widespread evacuations and destroyed hundreds of homes and tens of thousands of acres of land. The Diocese of Northern California has called for prayers at this time and is assessing how they can be of help in the near future. 

Donations to the US Disaster Response fund allow us to respond to disasters such as these quickly and efficiently. Please consider sharing the donation links and bulletin inserts (PDF) (JPG) as you are able, and please continue to pray for all those impacted by storms and flooding, for first responders who are conducting rescue operations and for church communities who are reaching out to care for their most vulnerable members and neighbors.

Simple Steps to Increase Your Church's Disaster Preparedness

Episcopal Relief & Development has created a list of easy ways for your church to increase its disaster preparedness and resilience. View the entire list, as well as more disaster preparedness tips, at
  • Teach texting. After disasters, cell phone service is often jammed or down completely. Texting is more reliable and uses less space on crowded cell networks. Make sure that sure that everyone in your congregation knows how to send and read text messages so that you can communicate after a disaster.
  • Plan a fire drill on a Sunday. Take time on a Sunday to practice what to do in the event of an emergency. A basic building evacuation may be a helpful procedure for addressing a number of different hazards.  
  • Place "A Season of Resilience" inserts into your worship bulletins. Episcopal Relief & Development's five-week curriculum titled "A Season of Resilience" is designed to encourage disaster preparedness in congregations. Each week, participants are asked to take small steps to prepare for disasters and to build an emergency kit.

How To: Fill Out The Episcopal Asset Map Survey

In our latest resource library piece, Vicki Ix of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts shares a step-by-step guide to filling out the Episcopal Asset Map survey. Check it out! 

National Preparedness Month Bulletin Inserts

Episcopal Relief & Development has developed several bulletin inserts for National Preparedness Month. The images are available in several formats and can be printed or shared on social media. has also developed a toolkit with information and resources that can be shared via social media. 
Around The Church:

Join "Ready to Serve": Sign up here to offer your services to your vulnerable neighbors after a disaster. 

Cathy Slemp of the Diocese of West Virginia discusses asset-based disaster preparedness and response in their diocesan newsletter.


Projects supported by Episcopal Relief & Development in the US:
Disaster Response:

Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
The Diocese of Louisiana is responding through emergency housing and gift card support after severe flooding in August 2016 lead to widespread evacuations and damaged many homes. 

Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi
The Diocese of Mississippi is responding to Spring 2016 flooding through assistance to repair damaged homes and meet unmet needs.

Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia
After severe flooding in West Virginia killed 24 people, damaged more than 1,200 homes and left more than 18,000 without power across the state, the Diocese of West Virginia is responding to needs through temporary housing assistance and gift card ministries for those impacted.

Episcopal Diocese of Texas
The Diocese of Texas is providing housing support and spiritual and emotional care in Houston after severe flooding in April 2016 led to widespread evacuations and damaged more than 1,100 homes.

Disaster Recovery:

Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan
The Diocese of Eastern Michigan is responding to the long-term effects of lead contamination in the water system in Flint by providing nutrient-rich foods that can help mitigate the effects of lead poisoning and cooking classes to teach residents how to best use these ingredients.

Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey 
The Diocese of New Jersey is aiding vulnerable individuals and communities by providing direct assistance, partnering with various long-term recovery groups and working with parish-based programs following Hurricane Sandy.

Resources for Disaster Preparedness and Response:

Visit Episcopal Relief & Development's online Resource Library for numerous case studies and best practices in disaster response at the diocesan and congregational level.

Contact Us:

Katie Mears,
Program Director

Lura Steele, 
Training Coordinator

Sara Lowery, 
Program Associate

Tamara Plummer, 
Asset Map Coordinator

Contact Us
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