Thursday, September 17, 2015

Butte and Valley Fires, Sending Financial Assistance, Nativity collecting toiletries for evacuees

As the Butte and Valley fires continue, we pray with all the people who have lost homes and property. We pray with farmers who have lost their crops and livestock. We pray with the emergency rescue workers, the firefighters, those assisting at evacuee centers. Our sister churches, St. Luke’s in Calistoga, St John’s in Lakeport, St. Mary’s in Napa, Grace Episcopal in St. Helena, Trinity Episcopal in Sutter Creek are all offering support.

If you would like to send financial aid to help families who have lost homes and property, please consider sending it to the Bishop of Northern California, The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner, for distribution.

Make check out to: The Bishop’s Discretionary Fund
Mail to: Episcopal Diocese of Northern California
350 University Ave., Suite 280
Sacramento, CA 95825

O merciful Father, you have taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of your people especially those facing the fires in Northern California, for whom our prayers are offered. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy, nourish their souls with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Report from the Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Northern California (September 15)

Here is a report from Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin:

I was at Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena today: this congregation has members who are being evacuated and who do not know if their homes will survive. Their Senior Warden, Joshua Cowan, is a hospital administrator who reports that the area hospitals are also on alert. We prayed with him before he left to go back to work. Some parishioners arrived early this morning rather in shock with the stress, and grateful for a place to come and pray. Vineyard owners are gearing up to strategize their response and evacuation plan. Rev. Mac McIlmoyl is ably praying, supporting, and mobilizing their members for mutual support.

From The Rev. Mary Goshert, priest in charge at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Calistoga: "Deacon Peggy Thompson has been evacuated and has no idea whether or not she has a home to return to. Calistoga is an evacuation center, with the Napa County Fair Grounds as the reception center. Deacon Susan Napoliello has been at the fairgrounds all night and is returning there today. Thomas Hughes, a retired Roman Catholic priest who worships with us, has been there all night and continues today. The members of our preschool board are out shopping for emergency supplies, the Red Cross is there, and Calistoga merchants and restaurants are stellar in their responses with necessities and cooked food and service." 

Rev. Mary is asking urgently for your prayers and support.

Rev. Kay Rohde visited St. John's in Lakeport, where some parishioners are being evacuated and one has lost their home. St. John's has opened up their food and clothes closet to the community, and members are helping out with the efforts there. 

The Rev. Stephen Carpenter reports that members of St. Mary's, Napa, are helping support the evacuees.

Regarding the Butte Fire, I spoke yesterday with Rev. Karen Siegfriedt, Rector at Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter Creek. Karen is posting updates on Facebook. Her congregation is also experiencing evacuation, loss of homes, and Trinity is a reception site for evacuees. 

In all cases our church buildings are not currently in danger, nor do we anticipate that they will be.

It is heartbreaking to hear of pets and livestock that are left behind, injured and dying. There is not enough time to find them.

Please check the ABC and NBC news sites for official reports, or check the Cal Fire link for updates.

Faithfully in Christ,

Canon Andrea

Help Our Neighbors Affected 
by the Valley Fire

As you know from watching the news, the Valley Fire burning in Lake and Napa counties has destroyed more than 65,000 acres, including homes and businesses. Thousands of people have had to flee the flames and find safety in local shelters. The Bay Area and the rest of the country have responded with a generous outpouring of donations, but the need is still great.  To help, the Nativity congregation will collect toiletry items this Sunday. The shelters need soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, and other hygiene items. If you can help, please bring some of these items to the church on Sunday. We will make sure they get to an organization that is making deliveries to the affected areas.

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