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by Deacon Elaine Clements, Diocesan Disaster Coordinator

On the Occasion of a Disaster

Compassionate God… Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen

– Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Church Publishing: New York), page 733


Napa Valley, California is currently in crisis with two out-of-control fires that have destroyed entire communities, schools, homes, ranches and farms, and small businesses and have resulted in the evacuation of thousands of people. One of the fires began Wednesday, September 9, and the other Saturday, September 12 as a result of a lightning strike. Both fires are devastating an area of more than 65,000 acres that has been in serious drought for over four years and both fires have, as a result, spread rapidly. The area being affected is noted for both tourism and its lovely vineyards but both of those economic bases also mean an area that is economically mixed with many migrant workers, native Americans, and service industry employees, all people without many resources when they lose all that they have. Yesterday Deacon Elaine Clements, Diocese of Louisiana’s Disaster Coordinator and Partner in Response for Episcopal Relief and Development, spoke to a priest in the affected area who made multiple trips with church youth groups to New Orleans in the days following Hurricane Katrina in order to gut flooded homes. Now his community is in crisis and he stands in need of our support.  Please prayerfully consider making a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development ( which is already responding to the needs of the vulnerable in the area.

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