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Bishops' Statement on Hurricane Katrina Bishops' Statement on Hurricane Katrina

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Bishop Philip Cousin, Senior Bishop
Bishop Philip Cousin, Senior Bishop
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Bishops' Statement on Hurricane Katrina

Posted on Sat, Sep 10, 2005

World attention has been drawn to the devastation along the Gulf Coast of the United States, standing in awe of the primal power of Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of families have been displaced, hundreds of persons presumed dead, and multitudes more who are emotionally and pragmatically wounded from the economic legacy of the storm.

Like so many religious and socially aware organizations, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, guided by the Council of Bishops, is responding to this crisis with dispatch and Christian concern for the multitude of people affected by this horrendous natural disaster. Our response seeks to be comprehensive and holistic, with an understanding that such care must be a long-term commitment. Through the Office of Global Witness and Ministry, we are cooperating with organizations who offer immediate and emergency assistance with financial support, goods and services appropriate for the specific needs of each affected community. Many of our congregations have already responded by using their facilities as temporary shelters and food service sites. We also propose licensed counseling for persons profoundly affected by this disaster.

The bulk of our financial resources, however, will be directed through a special response committee with stringent accountability measures in place to ensure public confidence for the purposes intended. This task force will operate through the office of the bishop of the Eighth Episcopal District (Louisiana and Mississippi) the Rt. Rev. C. Garnett Henning, the office of the bishop of the Ninth Episcopal District (Alabama), the Rt. Rev. T. Larry Kirkland, and the office of the bishop of the Eleventh Episcopal District, the Rt. Rev. McKinley Young. We believe that this gesture will make certain that persons on the very low end of the economic and social spectrum will not be overlooked or forgotten.

For the present, we are appealing to AMEC congregations throughout our vast connection, to begin receiving offerings for hurricane relief this Sunday, September 4, 2005 (continuing through the end of the month) earmarked for hurricane relief. Over the past 12 months, the AME Church has raised substantial funds for hurricane relief in Florida, Alabama and the Caribbean, as well as for Tsunami relief. In addition to monetary benefaction, additional resources consisting of dried goods, food, water and personal items will likewise be received across the connection and shipped to the appropriate agencies on the ground in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Addresses for receipt of these goods are listed below.

Offerings are to be sent to the Episcopal Districts offices and forwarded to the Department of Global Witness and Ministry. A special Response Committee will analyze, evaluate and recommend disbursements to the affected areas. The Response Committee consists of Bishops Philip R. Cousin, Gregory G. M. Ingram, Richard Allen Chappelle in their capacities as senior bishop, president of the Council of Bishops, and president of the General Board, along with the presiding bishops of the affected areas, Mrs. Jamesina Evans as president of the Women’s Missionary Society, Mr. Jesse Burns as president of the Connectional Lay Organization, Dr. Clement Fugh, Mr. Richard Allen Lewis, and Dr. George F. Flowers as executive director of Global Witness and Ministry. Contributions may also be made online by going to the Official Website (www.AME-Church.com), and clicking 'Contribute Now" for Hurricane Disaster Relief.' These funds will also be forwarded to the Department of Global Witness and Ministry. Reports of our work will be made to the church at the usual intervals, and intermittent reports (no less than quarterly) through the organs of the church.

Additionally, the Council of Bishops is considering measures to support pastors and their families whose congregations are without capacity to support the ministry. The Council is also appealing to creditors to be sensitive to persons who have been devastated by this historic and horrific natural disaster.

Our prayers are with the families who have known the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. We stand firm with those affected with tangible support and meaningful encouragement. We are reminded that we are our brothers' and sisters’ keepers. Lest we forget, we are called to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us” if we were similarly situated.

In the Eighth District, the addresses where supplies and support materials can be brought to serve as distribution sites for other assistance units are:

Pearl Street African Methodist Episcopal Church
c/o Rev. Samuel Boyd
2519 Robinson Rd.
Jackson, MS 39209
(601) 352-6087

Allen AME Church
c/o Rev. Bland Washington
6175 Scenic Hwy.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
(225) 357-8110

In the Ninth District, the addresses where supplies and support materials can be brought to serve as distribution centers for other assistance units are:

Daniel Payne College
c/o Ninth Episcopal District
2101 Daniel Payne Drive
Building 2
Birmingham, AL 35214

St. Stephen AME Church
c/o The Rev. Harrison Wilson
2707 Josephine Street
Mobile, AL 36607

Ward Chapel AME Church
c/o The Rev. Michael Hinson
809 Philpot Ave.
Selma, AL 36702

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