Good afternoon everyone,
According to the definition offered by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: “A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources.” By that definition, the Covid-19 pandemic qualifies as a disaster. This helps to explain the exhaustion so many of us have faced as we have worked for two and a half years to redefine and re-imagine our ministries, as well as other aspects of our lives in the wake of Covid. In many parts of our Diocese, we have now just suffered the impacts of Hurricane Fiona. If we are finding it difficult to attend to anything other than what is right in front of us, that is to be expected. Many have not had the necessary time to rest and recover from the pandemic (which, of course, is still ongoing) before having to prepare for a significant natural disaster, one which is being described as “historic.”
Please be assured of my prayers for you, the clergy and people of every parish in this Diocese, as we regroup in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona. Even those of us who have not suffered significant property or other damage to our homes or community or church buildings have likely witnessed or heard about the catastrophic impacts Fiona has had in some parts of our country and world. People’s lives have been changed forever. Families and communities have been changed forever. I encourage you to take time, as you are able, to rest and take care of yourselves and loved ones during this time. The PWRDF has launched a campaign to support relief efforts in Atlantic Canada and we are reaching out to the regions that have been hardest hit to learn what resources are most needed that are not already being offered by government or community-based agencies. I am also looking into diocesan resources that might be available at this time to support clergy and parishes.
If your parish has suffered damage to buildings or property, please contact our Diocesan Insurance Advisor, Mr. Peter Flemming, at email@example.com or by phone at 902-420-0717, ext. 2160. I hope to be able to offer more details about diocesan resources in the days to come. In the meantime, I offer this prayer from the Episcopal Relief & Development website (https://www.episcopalrelief.org/church-in-action/worship-resources/let-us-pray/prayers-in-the-time-of-disaster/)
God, you are in the midst of those who suffer
May all affected by Hurricane Fiona feel your healing presence.
God, you are in the hands of those who reach out
Help responders in their courageous work.
God, you are in the hearts of those compassionate ones
Whose prayers cry out for their families
Whose prayers cry out for their neighbours
Whose prayers cry out even for strangers
Bless and comfort those who mourn.
God, you are in the still small voice,
The gentle whisper that follows
May our ears always hear
May our hearts always cry out for one another
May our hands always reach out to one another
And may we always walk like you walk
In solidarity with those who suffer
And so reflect your presence and comfort.
– Prayer adapted from Catholic Relief Services
In prayer and hope,