Katrina recovery work continues

Almost two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States, Episcopalians continue to arrive to help with recovery. Youth groups, seminarians, Episcopal churches and leaders spend time rebuilding homes and lives, physical and emotional. Although the media have moved on according to latest reports, churches and local groups have taken on the challenge to restore shattered towns and lives.

St. Mark’s in Casper, Wyoming has partnered with St. Mark’s in Gulfport, MS to offer material items as well as prayer support.

Bishop Marc Andrus’ blog features Pilgrimage Journals from young Californians who have travelled to New Orleans to offer their skills and energy to the recovery efforts. Lily Moebes reports:

Coming here makes me hope that I hang onto the initial explosive emotions I felt while being there, and constructively turn them into productivity. I am really looking forward to coming home (yes, I know, even though the trip just began) as a San Franciscan 15 year old and finding ways of somehow incorporating all of these thing into daily life. Not bad for day one. I am really excited about the rest of the trip.

Read the rest of her journal entry here.

Tori Holt journals after a day of work and emotional experiences:

My qualms were soothed when I remembered the children. The school kids are simply inspiring. After struggling to comprehend really being here in New Orleans, I thought I would also have trouble connecting with them. I felt like I would have no way to relate… but this is no way to be. We’re here to help, and we are all fundamentally linked despite our vastly different lives. The kids and a few of our group’s volunteers ended up sitting around a table playing a question game. Each kid from NO was so eager to learn about our lives, and the volunteers were equally interested in the kids’ stories. We made a great connection, and it was electrifying. I left feeling reassured, loved, and embraced by another community.

Read her journal entry here

In September the House of Bishops will be meeting in New Orleans. Many church committees plan to meet in New Orleans or other Gulf locations this Triennium. They often plan to arrive before the meeting or stay following the meeting to work on recovery projects. Members of the committees, commissions, agencies and boards of The Episcopal Church stay at their own expense to do this work. According to Bishop Catherine Roskam of NY, ” the Bishops’ Choir and the Bishops and Spouses’ Choir will cut their second CD in New Orleans. It will be called Wondrous Love and dedicated to the memory of Jim Kelsey. All proceeds will go to support the work in the Ninth Ward.”

Giulianna M. Cappelletti, Postulant from the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, attending Virginia Theological Seminary, is interning in Bishop Jenkins’ office. She writes at Bishop Jenkins’ blog about her work this summer:

According to the most recent statistics from the Office of Disaster Response, nearly 240,000 of our brothers and sisters have been served to date through our various programs. This number in itself is impressive, but what has filled me with the most joy and hope has been the stories that I have heard from those to whom we are ministering.

Early last week, I spent time in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans at the St. Luke’s Homecoming Center. While this Homecoming Center still offers computer access, recovery and rebuilding information, and a community meeting space for residents, the bulk of the programming at St. Luke’s is focused on the needs of the children in the neighborhood. The St. Luke’s Homecoming Center has been transformed into a ‘sacred space for children’.

For information on how you and your group can be involved go to:

Diocese of Mississippi

Diocese of Louisiana

youtube has several videos by those who have travelled to the Gulf Coast. Here is one from a partnering church about Bay St. Louis, MS.

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