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After Hurricane Michael

HOW CAN I HELP? Prayer is an essential part of being an Episcopalian and connecting with others. Your continued prayers are needed as all of us and especially those impacted by Hurricane Michael navigate these next days to weeks to months of recovery. Here are some helpful prayers.

Seeing others in a time of vulnerability moves us to want to help. Right now. Please be patient. Right now we are in the rescue phase, being patient while trained organizations arrive to secure properties, clear roads, and address safety conditions can be difficult, but necessary. Impacted areas do not have the infrastructure to support groups who show up to help without a plan in place which adds stress and strain. Shortly we will move in to the relief phase where your physical help will be needed. Until then, be patient. Here is what you can do now:

It is important to note that our impacted churches are not equipped to handle donations of supplies just yet. We will communicate needs and donation locations as soon as we have a plan in place. Thank you.

INFORMATION FOR RECOVERY TEAMS Churches and organizations interested in sending teams to help with relief efforts are asked to please coordinate through our diocesan disaster preparedness and response coordinator:

The Rev. Deacon Tricia Spencer. Contact her at or 863-450-7412.

RESOURCES TO ADDRESS SPIRITUAL NEEDS Episcopal Relief & Development offers incredible resources to walk us through the various ways in which we can respond to the spiritual needs of our friends impacted by disaster. Here are a few that we like:

US DISASTER PROGRAM - HELPING IN TIME OF DISASTER Resource provided by Episcopal Relief & Development

Most disasters have three distinct, if sometimes overlapping phases: Rescue, Relief and Recovery. Preparedness should be ongoing.

Phase 1 - Rescue The Rescue phase is focused on saving lives and securing property, and is most acute in those parts of a region that, for example, are directly flooded or destroyed by fires. This work is generally done by the police, fire departments and other government agencies. These groups have equipment that can clear roads and debris, as well as large specialized operations with mass distribution systems and strategically positioned warehouses. The Rescue phase can take one to two weeks, sometimes longer.

Phase 2 - Relief The next phase is the Relief phase, when the focus turns to creating short-term safe and sanitary conditions. The local church is often one of the first places people go to seek assistance and shelter during this phase. Depending on the scale of the disaster, the diocese(s) and their ministries are reaching out to those in need of assistance, and assessing what needs to be done. They are then coordinating with any number of organizations, such as Episcopal Relief & Development, and securing the resources for the long-term Recovery phase. The Relief phase typically lasts a few months.

In disasters that cause severe damage to homes and other infrastructure, communities might need financial support or volunteers to assist in rebuilding, but sometimes not right away. Again, the best approach is to wait until those affected have indicated what kind of support is most needed and whether they are ready to house and utilize volunteers. Inserting ourselves at the appropriate time alleviates additional stress and complications that can actually make things worse.

Phase 3 - Recovery Eventually, we get to the third and final phase: Recovery. During recovery the emphasis shifts to restoring services, repairing houses and buildings, returning individuals to self-sufficiency and rebuilding communities. The challenge of the Recovery phase is that most of the television cameras have moved on, but the human suffering has grown. It is a chronic state, not a crisis. However, it is the phase that the Church excels in, because we are part of the communities that have been impacted, can best identify needs and work with the community to address them.

Effective response requires us to discern what is most helpful and appropriate at any given time, and to continue to hold those directly impacted in our hearts throughout their recovery, long after the media images fade.

For diocesan emergency response information, visit


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