I’m sure many of you are by now aware of the massive mudslide that occurred this weekend in Oso, Washington, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. I have been in close communications with the Rev. Janet Loyd, Vicar at Church of the Transfiguration in Darrington, near Oso, and the Rev. Terry Kyllo, Priest in Charge of St. Philip’s in Marysville. Both Janet and Terry have members of their congregations who have been affected by the mudslide. The information is changing by the hour, and once again today rescuers had to be rescued themselves as the ground and the mountainside began to move and was felt unsafe. It is expected that the death toll will rise. The Rev. Janet Loyd reports that the town of Darrington is swamped with media and a the moment overwhelmed. As much as people may want to go help, now is not the time. Please give to the relief efforts as you are able and continue to keep them all in your prayers.
I also have been in contact with Dave Baylor, our diocesan Disaster Relief Coordinator. As our coordinator, Dave functions as the primary connection with the US Disaster Program of Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) in New York City, to help determine what kind of support ERD might offer to the Diocese and the local church in situations like this. Dave also functions as our liaison to the state level organization of faith-based and community organizations that respond to these events. This group is known as the Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster or WAVOAD.
As Dave explains, “This provides us an integrated and well-informed connection with the field staff and managers of groups such as the American Red Cross, Catholic Community Services, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, and a host of other similar groups that mobilize to provide help at various points following a disaster, plus federal, state, county and local government agencies.”
We have established an Online Donation Page for those who would like to assist with this relief effort through financial support. Donations through this link will go to ERD earmarked for the Oso Mudslide Disaster Relief efforts. This fund will help not only with immediate efforts, but also in the longer term response to needs created by this mudslide.
Additionally, we have created the QR Code below that you can use with bulletin inserts. It will take people to a mobile version of the donation page.
I am currently at the House of Bishops Spring meeting in Texas. While I have been keeping up from here I want to give special thanks to Canons Lance Ousley and Dede Moore for their close attention to this tragedy. Today, in the Chapel here, I preached at Eucharist and opened my sermon with a plea for prayers for the people of the valley, Oso, Darrington, and all those affected.
Finally, here is a prayer written by Canon Ousley if you would like one to include in your prayers of the people or bulletins:
O merciful Father, comfort all who are in distress in the wake of the mudslides affecting those along the north fork of the Stillaguamish River. Give courage to those who search for family, friends and neighbors, so they will not be lost in danger or despair. Show your compassion to those who have lost loved ones, that they may feel your presence and live in hope of the resurrection. Strengthen those who have lost homes and possessions but have their lives, that they may embrace the precious gift of one another. Receive into your arms your children whose lives have been swept away, that they rest in your everlasting peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.