Relief Update – May 1

A Message from Bishop Benfield

Relief efforts continue for the victims of this past Sunday’s tornado, which did significant damage not only in Vilonia and Mayflower but also in many smaller communities that were in its path. The response of Episcopalians has been gratifying. Ginger Bailey of the Disaster Relief Team continues to coordinate our official efforts, and a large number of parishioners and members of the clergy have been working in the affected areas.

More than $11,000 has been donated to the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund for relief from this tornado. Assistance in the form of gift cards given to victims so that they can buy specifically what they need has been one focus of our work so far. As the immediate needs turn into longer term needs (for example, furniture replacement), we hope to help in that area as well.

Our partners in the larger Episcopal Church have been most supportive. Representatives of Episcopal Relief and Development have been in contact with Ginger Bailey, and the bishops of at least four dioceses have been in contact with our diocesan office. Their financial support is most appreciated.

Such catastrophes make us realize how important relationships are. We are all parts of the body of Christ and dependent on one another for mutual support. Just as importantly, events such as this one remind us that the face of the risen Christ takes many forms, and when we come to the aid of others, even the total stranger, we are serving Christ himself.

Thank you for your ongoing support of this important work. As new needs arise, this office will keep you informed.