All funds collected will go directly to the Bishop of the Bahamas, allowing him to direct critical help to individuals and families in the Abacos and Grand Bahama.
The Bishop and his colleagues can reach people at this point in ways that no one or no other agency can, and our response will enable him to reach out with practical and life-saving help!
The Commemoration of Ellie Naud
7 September 2019
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Amazingly, Hurricane Dorian continues to threaten communities as it moves northwards. Today Massachusetts and parts of maritime Canada will feel its effects, some of them potentially serious. The storm is not predicted to be safely out to sea in the North Atlantic and away from land until later tomorrow. Hurricane Dorian began life on 24 August, developing quickly and dangerously, and striking the Virgin Islands before moving on to the Bahamas. So we have been focused on this system for a full two weeks.
Yesterday I went to Nassau to deliver a satellite phone for Green Turtle Cay as well as some funds to begin to help the Bishop in his relief work. We had about an hour together as he told me what he saw during his fly-over of the Abacos a couple of days before. It is not possible to describe the worst devastation that the Bahamas has known in recorded history. Almost 70,000 people are homeless in both the Abacos and Grand Bahama, and we have no idea of the number of the dead and missing – but that count rises by the hour. A hurricane disaster is quickly becoming a humanitarian crisis of major proportions.
We are doing everything we can to be of significant help. The Bishop’s Appeal is going strong. I have had messages from many of our congregations and even some of our schools to say that they are collecting funds, and we are still hoping for 100% participation from all our congregations in this Appeal. Remember that it is not the size of the gift that is important; but the fact that we shall be able to say to our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas that every community in our diocese participated. Such solidarity sends its own powerful message.
As we continue to pray for all those affected by the storm in our church services tomorrow, please also issue a call to your community to contribute to the Bishop’s Appeal.
I am deeply moved that the Diocese of Florida to the north of us is also having an appeal, and is directing its funds to come to us so that we may be partners in an even more effective effort to raise money. I have written to Bishop Howard and the clergy and people of the Diocese of Florida to express our gratitude. I have also received the news that an independent foundation in Pennsylvania is contributing to our Appeal. We are becoming a centre of focus for help, and we are so much stronger because of these partnerships. I am continuing to work on a number of other relationships, both in the Church and among other organisations, to expand these partnerships as widely as possible.
As I have said already, we want to help with immediate relief, and we are committed to this work for the long haul. Even now we are looking at the longer-term work of re-building, which will take considerable funds and take years. So our generosity now will have benefits for months, even years, to come.
We know in this region how long it can take to recover from a serious hurricane. Even now parts of the Keys are not restored after Hurricane Irma two years ago. And there is a sense in which we still feel the effects of Hurricane Andrew in some of our communities almost 30 years on. Such storms change history and the existence of entire communities as much as they injure individuals and families. All of this is on our minds as we see the reports coming out of the Abacos and Grand Bahama.
I have said to the Bishop of the Bahamas that I am ready to go with him when he can finally get into the affected regions of his diocese, so that I can be of a support to him and a witness to be able to help more effectively with organising help. This morning many areas remain dangerous and closed by the government, and access is severely limited. This causes tensions of its own, as understandably people want desperately to get to the Abacos and Grand Bahama to bring aid and help.
For now let us channel our energy into raising money. That is the best thing that most of us can do. Encourage those of your friends and colleagues who do not belong to the Church, but who are looking for a direct and effective way to help, to contribute to the Bishop’s Appeal. Direct them to our Facebook Page, and forward to them the Appeal letter or show them how to contribute online. While this may seem like only an oblique way of helping, it is the best way to help at this stage.
Thank you for all that you are doing to care for our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas at this terrible time.
With love and prayers,