Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Keeping the Victims of the California Fires in Our Thoughts and Prayers

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

People started returning today to the homes they were forced to evacuate in Scripps Ranch, south Poway and Del Mar Heights even as officials said fire conditions worsened countywide today.

Four major fires ripping across San Diego County have burned at least 263,000 acres and destroyed or damaged 1,750 homes and 100 businesses. More than 500,000 people have been told to evacuate...

...The firestorms have killed one person and injured 21 firefighters and 22 civilians in San Diego County...
MSNBC is estimating the number of people evacuated to be closer to 900,000.

So, what can we do? We can certainly pray for those who are suffering. We can also take action. From Bishop Mathes of San Diego:

To prepare for the long-term recovery work, we have established a 2007 Fire Relief Fund. Individuals can make a gift to our fund. Please add: “Fire Relief” to the memo line. Please send gifts designated for that fund to:

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego
2728 6th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103

In addition, we are collecting gift cards to Target, K-Mart, Walmart, and JC Penney to be distributed to people who have lost property. These gift cards can be sent to the above address to the attention of Canon Howard F. Smith. Any communication of these requests would be a blessing.


The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
Bishop of San Diego


All Saints' 651 Eucalyptus Ave., Vista 760-726-4280

Christ Church 1114 Ninth St., Coronado 619-435-4561

Good Samaritan 4321 Eastgate Mall, San Diego 858-458-1501

St. Andrew's 890 Balour St., Encinitas 92024 760-753-3017

St. Andrew's 4816 Glen St, La Mesa 91941 619-460-7272

St. Dunstan's 6556 Park Ridge Rd., San Diego 92120 619-460-6442

St. James 743 Prospect St., La Jolla 92037 858-459-3421

St. Michael's, 2775 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad 92018 760-729-8901

The above article also includes a link for online donations.

From Episcopal Relief and Development:

...Episcopal Relief and Development is working with the Diocese of San Diego to assist with sheltering and provide psychosocial support for those whose lives are challenged by the trauma and displacement from the fires. “We need to keep our thoughts and prayers with Southern California during and after these fires,” says Rich Ohlsen, Episcopal Relief and Development’s Director for Domestic Response and Preparedness. “The needs, especially of the vulnerable populations, will be great.” Ohlsen will be traveling to the area to assist the Diocese in recovery efforts.

While many people have been able to seek temporary refuge with family and friends, the region’s more vulnerable and marginalized populations – the homeless, low-income and elderly – are in need of immediate assistance, including food, water, and blankets. Several congregations have already opened their doors to offer shelter. Funds are needed for operations and to provide psychosocial support. Once the fires are contained, these same populations will require assistance in rebuilding their lives and finding new homes.

To help people affected by the fires in Southern California, please make a donation to ERD's “Emergency Relief Fund” online at , or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development “Emergency Relief Fund” P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058...
Let us pray:

Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and protect all those facing the destruction of the fires in Southern California; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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