St. Luke's Acts as a "Godsend" for Steiner Ranch
St. Luke's on the Lake, Austin, has been at the forefront of relief efforts for the fires at the Steiner Ranch community. Below is a message from St. Luke's parish administrator Nancy Phillips:
The most important news we have to report is that, as far as we know right now, no St. Luke's members lost their homes or suffered severe damage (although several were a little too close for comfort). Thank you, God.
"Many thanks for the incredible generosity of time, personal presence, and supplies from a wide range of individuals, families, and businesses during the past 72 hours," said the Rev. Parker Jameson. "Persons too many to name contributed ideas, leadership, followership, and sheer muscle to create St. Luke's on the Lake a welcoming place of refuge and information while residents of Steiner Ranch waited for news of their homes and then began the process of getting their normal lives restarted. With the firefighters getting the fire more and more contained, our role here has wound down. Continue to pray for all involved. Thank you. Well done, St. Luke's on the Lake Episcopal Church."
What we're doing now:
- We do NOT need any more donations for this effort, but as people continue to drop off supplies at St. Luke's, we are shuttling extras to support the people affected by the Bastrop County fire.
- We have partnered with Austin Christian Fellowship to serve dinner in the hardest hit area of Steiner Ranch once again this evening. St. Luke's is providing the food [leftover from last night's community dinner]; ACF is preparing it in their kitchen and delivering it. So many thanks to all who brought food last night--it continues to bless those in need!
- The Steiner Ranch Homeowner's Association is asking area churches to help staff a donation distribution center tomorrow and Thursday. If you are available, please call them at 512.266.7553 to see whether they need help.
- This Sunday from 5-6:30p St. Luke's is hosting a community de-briefing facilitated by trained counselor Patti Peacock. All those affected in any way by the fire, including volunteers from St. Luke's, are invited to participate, to work through this experience together.
"Small But Fast"
Lake Travis Fire and Rescue personnel noted that St. Luke's on the Lake was "first on the scene" in responding to the Steiner Ranch fire situation. One member of St. Luke's observed, "We're small, but we're fast."
Beginning Sunday evening right after the evacuation began, St. Luke's opened up the church and began to offer a safe place for people to gather, get information, and rest. The church provided breakfast, lunch, snacks, hot coffee and cold drinks to residents, emergency management officials, media and anyone else in need of respite Monday and Tuesday. St. Luke's provided clean restrooms, comfortable chairs and a safe haven for people to wait and watch. The church provided a key gathering point for emergency planning personnel and served as a practical operations hub for the situation.
St. Luke's also served 250 hot dinners Tuesday evening and delivered even more to the hardest-hit area in Steiner Ranch for emergency personnel, relief workers and families sifting through the debris of their homes and otherwise dealing with loss and destruction.
”Thank you very much for providing the free dinners to the residents of Steiner Ranch," posted one woman on St. Luke's Facebook page. "I was soooo tired upon coming home and the last thing I felt like doing was cooking. The meal you provided was truly a Godsend and my family and I were so revived by it. It was delicious and very, very kind of you all to do that for everyone. MUCH appreciated by us!"
Being a Family
Junior Warden Allen Griswold, who launched and directed this effort with tremendous support from the Men and Women of St. Luke's, other volunteers and staff, commented, "The response from St. Luke's was incredible. We did what we were supposed to do. We fed people and took care of them. We rose to the occasion. Everybody does what they do best at St. Luke's on the Lake, and that's be a family."
"Jesus Lives Here"
While speaking to a Steiner Ranch resident who brought her three-year-old daughter to St. Luke's for dinner last night, St. Luke's learned that the little girl had participated in Vacation Bible School at the church last summer. When family drove into the St. Luke's parking lot on Tuesday, the three-year-old exclaimed, "Jesus lives here!" Amen.