The flame shall not consume you
Dear family of God,
We know that your hearts, like ours, have been broken as the devastation wrought by wildfires in California continues to increase in severity. In addition to the destruction of land and forests, the cost to lives and human community has been unprecedented, and those costs are still rising. The town of Paradise has been leveled; more than 80 people have been confirmed dead at this writing, and thousands more are unaccounted for. In Northern California, families are living in tents and having difficulty accessing basic services; many of those who have lost their homes are older than 60. While the focus is on those closest to the fires, the impact is widespread. Due to the smoke, communities hundreds of miles from the fires are being impacted by unhealthy air quality. What’s more, after the wildfires there is an increased risk of mudslides.
Through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been present since the beginning of the disaster. Working closely with leadership in the affected presbyteries, we have released emergency grants to support the presbyteries in meeting the urgent needs of their neighbors. At the request of the Red Cross, PDA has deployed four disaster spiritual care providers from our national response team to work directly with survivors in shelters and the affected communities. We are deploying additional PDA teams to support the presbyteries in their assessment and response as they help their neighbors begin recovery. Additional grants for ongoing emergency support for survivors and long-term recovery will be forthcoming.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Your gifts to DR000165 (U.S. Wildfires) will ensure that PDA has adequate resources to support the recovery. Gift of the Heart kits are a hands-on way to help others and a fun project for the Advent season; hygiene kits and school kits will especially be needed in California. You can also share this bulletin insert in church on Sunday.
As people of faith we seek comfort, support, and direction from God. We ask that you join your spirits with ours as we walk with our California neighbors through the valley of the shadow.