Third Sunday Mission Focus

Each month a local, national, or global mission of PCUSA will be highlighted via Minute for Mission. The congregation will have the opportunity to drop a buck in the bucket on their way out of church.

  Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images A girl walks on a street damaged in Hurricane Matthew, in Jeremie, in western Haiti, on October 7. The full scale of the devastation in the hurricane-hit country became clear as the death toll surged over 400 three days after Hurricane Matthew leveled huge swaths of the country's south.

  Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

A girl walks on a street damaged in Hurricane Matthew, in Jeremie, in western Haiti, on October 7. The full scale of the devastation in the hurricane-hit country became clear as the death toll surged over 400 three days after Hurricane Matthew leveled huge swaths of the country's south.

The following is taken from pda.pcusa.org

response to Hurricane Matthew

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. —Song of Solomon 8:7

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance provides help for those impacted by the storm.

Hurricane Matthew has caused death and destruction across the Caribbean and southeastern United States, including more than 800 dead, thousands injured, and the destruction of communities and crops, especially in Haiti. Many impacted areas were still recovering from previous flooding and other disasters. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is supporting the delivery of emergency aid to those impacted, working with our partners in the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) and local staff who had been monitoring the completion of prior earthquake and hurricane projects.

In Haiti, PDA is leveraging long-standing church partnerships to assess damage and to develop long-term disaster recovery and rebuilding strategies. Ecumenical partner ACT Alliance has already issued an appeal for over $1 million to assist relief efforts in Cuba, and is working with partners throughout the Caribbean to evaluate needs in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and beyond. After immediate needs are addressed, PDA will remain, drawing upon its strong relationships and effective prior development efforts in the region.

Throughout the southeastern United States, PDA has reached out to pastors and presbytery leaders in areas impacted by the storm. Extensive flooding and storm surges throughout the region have damaged many homes and churches. National Response Team members are mobilizing to visit affected presbyteries and to support local development of disaster response and recovery plans. In the coming weeks, PDA will begin deploying teams into as many as seven presbyteries and providing assistance to congregations mucking out as the waters recede.

The needs for the response are great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP”—Give. Act. Pray.

Give: Financial support for relief efforts can be designated for Hurricane Matthew by giving to DR000193. Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check, which can be mailed to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

Act: Stay informed: Subscribe to receive PDA Rapid Information Network emails to keep aware of current responses and urgent needs that you can share with your congregation, and like us on Facebook.

Pray: Pray for those who suffered loss of family or home or for those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.

 

Poster by Bonnie Acker, Syracuse Cultural Workers

Poster by Bonnie Acker, Syracuse Cultural Workers

Response to Public Violence

the following is taken directly from pda.pcusa.org

Situation

On July 5th two white police officers shot and killed Alton Sterling, an African American man, outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The shooting, captured on video, has fueled protests and outrage across the country.  The next day, the shooting death of another African American, Philando Castile, by a white officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, has garnered the same response. Castile’s girlfriend broadcast his dying breaths live on Facebook.

A peaceful demonstration in downtown Dallas, Texas turned violent on July 7th when a sniper (or snipers) opened fire on police officers on the streets, killing five officers and wounding several others, including civilians. 

PDA Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance joins the Presbyterian Church (USA) in grieving with the three communities affected by public violence this week. PDA has reached out to the Presbytery of South Louisiana, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, and Grace Presbytery to offer assistance and support as they begin to participate in responding to those affected and to the community as a whole. Deployment of National Response Team members skilled in trauma response and emotional and spiritual pastoral care has been offered to the presbyteries, who are assessing their needs at this time. Initial community grants have also been offered to each presbytery to support their congregations’ response in these events, and are in process at this moment. 

Give: Share your financial blessings by designating gifts to DR00018.  This designated account supplements funds already distributed from the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering to enable a significant response from the aftermath of public violence; such as shootings, bombings and other acts of violence. Funds received into this account may help families with funeral expenses, support emotional and spiritual care for church leadership, and provide resources to help communities recover from this type of human caused disaster. Your prayers and faithful giving is deeply appreciated.

Act: Stay informed: Subscribe to receive PDA Rapid Information Network emails to keep aware of current responses and urgent needs that you can share with your congregation, and like us on Facebook.

Pray: A lament following violence in St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas

July 8, 2016

God of our weary years and our silent tears,
We are shattered by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile
Devastated by the loss of five Dallas police officers and the wounding of seven more,
gunned down while protecting a citizens’ peaceful protest

We are horrified, angry, despairing
We struggle with a yearning for justice and judgment--
a knowledge that our prayers alone are not enough
a hurt that is beyond speech
a fear that we do not know a way forward that will help
an emptiness: we have been here before, too many times,
and we know we will walk this bloodied path again.

What can we do, with such fear and anger and longing,
that can bind us together, rather than further tear apart the fabric of our common life?
We are failing one another, and we are failing You:
our Maker, our Mercy, our Justice, our Peace.

We pray for our neighbors in St. Paul, in Baton Rouge, in Dallas
and for our whole broken and heartbroken nation
in this hard season of violence, death and distrust
each one lost is a child made in Your image.
each survivor is beloved to You
each afflicted community is part of your commonwealth.

We lift our prayers for each life lost, each family bereaved,
each neighborhood whose fabric has been violently torn asunder by bullets and hatred and fear.
We pray for ourselves, that this hurt, this outrage, this yearning for justice
will not fade from our minds before our hearts are broken open
by Your passion for mercy, justice, and love.

Restore our hope, our heart,
our sense of the possibility of holiness and wholeness in your creation.
Tend the fires of our rage so that they burn for justice and warm hearts that have grown cold.
Make the waters of our tears nourish the river that flows through the city of God,
and the tree of life that is for the healing of the nations.
In the name of Jesus, we pray.
Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Laurie A. Kraus
Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance