My Dear Friends in Christ,
This year when we contribute to the Episcopal Charities Annual Appeal we are contributing to more than our customary charity to the needy among us – we are making an extraordinary response to an extraordinary tragedy: Hurricane Sandy.
You know by now that Episcopalians throughout the Diocese did not hesitate, but rushed into action on the very night that Sandy struck – you may very well have been among them. St. John’s Episcopal Hospital sheltered hundreds from the storm, and treated hundreds of the sick and injured. Volunteer collection centers sprang up in each archdeaconry, with St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn transformed into the hub of a massive volunteer effort, and collection centers at Grace Church in Jamaica, at Holy Trinity in Valley Stream, and at St. James in Brookhaven.
And now that the first rush of adrenaline is over, now that an enormous and inspiring and wholly impromptu structure of goodness and generosity and bedrock practicality has been assembled… now begins the perhaps even more difficult work of sustaining our recovery over the long haul – the work of rebuilding.
Diocesan Hurricane Sandy Recovery and Relief Centers are coalescing in Mastic Beach in Suffolk County, in Freeport in Nassau County and in the Rockaways. These centers represent partnerships among Diocesan ministries like Episcopal Charities, Episcopal Community Services and the health and mental health services of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. Episcopal Charities has already committed $250,000 to this effort.
Volunteers from around the country are pouring in to help; the Diocese must be able to house and feed them. There are homes and parish ministries to be rebuilt, and new social and mental-health ministries must be established to address continuing needs in hardest-hit communities.
Since 1951 the Diocese has had organized social and health ministries touching countless lives, through of the generosity of believers like you. This year we face our greatest challenge in all those decades of mission – but nor can we neglect continuing mission work in parishes and ministries elsewhere across the Diocese.
Your gift to the Episcopal Charities Annual Appeal this year will sustain all that we have accomplished in the past, and beyond that will help the Diocese overcome the chaos and destruction of the storm. Your sacrifice – and I know that in these times I am asking you for real sacrifice – could make a life-and-death difference for a homeless family, for a traumatized child, or for a displaced and frightened elder. I pray that you can find your way to join me in in this great mission.
With my deepest thanks, warmest regards and heartfelt blessings,
The Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano
Annual Appeal Home | God's Work in 2013