Presbyterian Disaster Assistance – Hurricane Harvey

Please read below a letter from the Presbytery concerning disaster assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey:

To My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Most of us have been deeply moved during the past week as we have witnessed the absolute devastation of much of coastal Texas and Louisiana, especially around the immense area that encompasses metropolitan Houston.  I am sure that your hearts ache for the immediate needs of such a multitude of people.  And as we ponder what awaits families and communities after the storm has passed, it is almost incomprehensible to fathom the immensity of the task of recovery.

It is our human nature, as designed by a compassionate and gracious God, for us to want to respond.  Many of us know firsthand the work of aid agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.  The work of these groups is important, especially because of the networks they have established to work with a variety of governmental and non-profit agencies.  And many of us respond by gifts to one of these agencies.

I would like to highlight another opportunity in which we as Presbyterians can be involved in responding to the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey.  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has also developed a well-organized and well-respected way to respond to “natural or human-caused events that produce human suffering or create human needs that survivors cannot alleviate without assistance. (from the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance FAQ page)”  PDA has been in touch with the presbyteries in the path of Hurricane Harvey to offer assistance; they are standing by with resources and National Response Team members ready to deploy upon invitation and when it is safe to do so.

All designated funds received by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance goes to support relief and recovery efforts.  PDA does not charge nor does it receive administrative fees on designated gifts for disaster response.  Giving through the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering help to cover PDA’s non-program related activities related to program administrative overhead.

For additional information about the efforts being undertaken by PDA on behalf of victims of Harvey, please go to www.pda.pcusa.org/ .  If you would like to access a bulletin insert for this situation or any of the other disasters with which PDA is working, those are available at the PDA website as well.  And for those who would like to make a financial contribution to PDA’s emergency and response efforts, gifts can be designated to DR000169-Harvey.  Instructions about how to give can be found at the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance website as well.

Please keep in mind as well that there will also be opportunities, likely for many years ahead, for members of congregations to serve alongside Presbyterian Disaster Assistance leaders through work camps to areas in coastal Texas and Louisiana.  We want to remember that the process of recovery is complex and intricate.  Our focus on the needs in places devastated by this disaster must not disappear when the media coverage has stopped.

The following words are from a prayer by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance:  “God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance, in storm and distress, we welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion.  We open our hearts in sorrow, gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature’s fury as well as those whose lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water may find solace, sustenance, and strength in the days of recovery and rebuilding that come…”

With gratitude for your partnership in the Gospel,

Alan Thames, Executive Presbyter