Bishop Doyle: Join Us In A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost So Much
The Episcopal Church has been working to respond to the victims of the recent wildfires in Central Texas. Congregations are now collecting donations and getting ready for the needs of those many individuals who are staying in shelters due to the loss of their homes.
As a Texan I am proud of the valiant efforts made by our public servants, especially those fire and police personnel, who in these last days have given their very best to protect families' homes and livelihoods. We as a community of families throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Texas are grateful beyond measure for their leadership and tireless efforts these past few days.
As the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, I am most proud of the clergy and laity at St. Luke’s on the Lake, Austin which found itself at the hub of the Steiner Ranch fire and at Calvary, Bastrop, which is at the center of the fight of the largest fire. The Rev. Mike Wyckoff and the Rev. Parker Jameson along with their congregation at St. Luke's have been offering support to those evacuated and those fighting the fire. Prayer, pastoral support, food, and supplies are being given at St. Luke’s as they continue to respond to the community needs near the Steiner Ranch fire.
The Rev. Lisa Hines and her husband, the Rev. Chris Hines, along with the Rev. Ken Kesselus have joined the families of Calvary, Bastrop, to do the same. They have been in touch with the many families affected by the fire and have created a hub of care even as the flames threatened the downtown area. The Hines family lost their home as they were undertaking their pastoral work and now join the 15 church families, and the some 600 families from the area that are now homeless. The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Texas should be proud of their leadership (along with the leadership of the many Austin Churches who are responding). We are grateful for their witness to God’s love and care in the midst of the devastation of the wildfires. They have offered to us all a vision of God’s hand at work in the world around us and we see in their selfless actions a glimpse of God’s kingdom where neighbor cares for neighbor.
We are not yet out of the storm. We have yet to see the full containment of the fire in Bastrop which now spreads over 36,000 acres. We still have several fires that are not contained in central Texas; including the one in Magnolia which is affecting parishioners and families in west Houston. The fires continue to burn and so we continue to monitor and help everywhere we can.
What we know is that as a community of faith our work of building up from the ashes is yet to be undertaken. The grieving and shock will give way in the weeks to come to clarity of vision for rebuilding our communities. The Episcopal Church has a strong heritage of engaging in disaster relief and we, in the Diocese of Texas, will not shy away from coming to the aid of our neighbors. We are already working on response teams who are ready to come and help with pastoral care and the rebuilding efforts.
I pray you will join us in prayer for those who have lost so much; for their comfort, and for their strength to meet the challenge of life in the days ahead. I pray also that you will give to the relief of these families in need. And, as the opportunities present themselves you will join with us in helping our neighbors.