Letter from the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Greetings in the Light,
This past fall, three hurricanes battered parts of the Caribbean and Gulf Coast regions. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria brought violent winds and severe flooding, and their rapid succession left many people and relief organizations overwhelmed. Your faithful and generous support, however, allowed the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to respond with the light of hope in the midst of chaos, through the work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Thank you for your support.
Your gifts provided emergency funding in Texas, Florida, Cuba and Puerto Rico. In the days after each storm, PDA was on the ground, assessing damage, providing expert support, partnership, consultation and coordination. Impacted congregations received urgent assistance to continue in ministry to their affected neighbors. PDA’s response is widening, providing resources for long-term recovery, working with partners to set up volunteer rebuilding opportunities, supporting capacity building and providing support and training for leaders in Compassion Fatigue and Resiliency. Fatigue and hopelessness often cause a second crisis long after the winds subside and the waters recede.
Historic support from Presbyterians ensured a swift response. In Florida, decades of work in partnership and capacity building with the Florida PDA Network (FLAPDAN) meant that preparation and coordination began before Irma made landfall. Collaboration with presbyteries in Texas provides coordination of disaster response efforts. Ongoing support from Presbyterians means that long-term redevelopment is accomplished as the love of Christ is made visible in all of the affected areas.
Nowhere is the need so pronounced as in Puerto Rico. Throughout the island, the loss of homes, infrastructure and loved ones has touched almost every resident. Many months later, thousands of people still lack electricity and running water. Your support is delivering the light of hope into the darkness of the disaster. From the aid and cleanup on the island, to support for presbyteries in Florida and New England as they receive many Puerto Ricans displaced by the devastation, to long-term rebuilding and development, your gifts have made the church’s response possible. Because of your support, PDA is able to support a coordinator for relief and development efforts in Puerto Rico from the Puerto Rican Presbyterian community. This important step ensures that the work done by the church will be delivered efficiently and effectively and will build capacity should future disasters strike the U.S. territory.
Thank you for sharing the Light with those in need by standing in the “GAP” — Give. Act. Pray.
You have been so generous to us and we thank you. You can continue to support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s emergency response and long-term recovery work through participation in One Great Hour of Sharing. This Special Offering secures PDA’s capacity to respond to these and other disasters.
Contact the PDA Call Center and organize a work team. Call (866) 732-6121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Work teams will be needed in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico to assist in cleanup and rebuilding efforts.
Ensure your congregation has materials to support One Great Hour of Sharing. PDA and its partner ministries, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Self-Development of People, are able to share the love of Christ with those in need because of widespread church support through One Great Hour of Sharing. If you have questions, need help or want to start receiving this offering at your congregation, email email@example.com.
God our Light,
Be a strong presence in the lives of neighbors who, having survived the winds and rains, now follow the light of your love toward recovery and rebuilding. Thank you for the generous response of the church. May these gifts of support overflow more than floodwaters, to grow your work of healing and rebuilding and bring comfort and strength to those who suffer.
For more information, visit presbyterianmission.org/pda.
In the Light,
The Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus
Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance