MDR Update: September 21, 2017

Please CLICK HERE to return to the general update page.

The BWM continues to receive generous donations to help us respond in light of the myriad of disasters in the last several weeks. Below is an update regarding the current status of our response.

Hurricane Harvey
The BWM has made an initial distribution of funds to the Unity of the Brethren as the rebuilding work begins in the greater Houston and Gulf Coast regions. On Monday, September 25th, several volunteers from the Western District in the Northern Province will be driving a Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) trailer to Texas to be on the ground for use by individuals there, and for forthcoming teams. The trailer is pre-loaded with tools and items helpful in construction, but in this case will also be carrying donations from Southern WI congregations who have been collecting necessary construction materials which can be utilized or distributed on site. The BWM is very thankful for those who have gone out of their way to help add further supplies to this trailer.

In the next two weeks the BWM will begin communicating further information about the opportunity for teams to travel to Texas. Please CLICK HERE (or on the button above) to enter your information for volunteering availability. NOTE: Even if you have sent in your information before to indicate your interest in volunteering, we are asking you to fill out this quick form specifically geared for our current Hurricane Relief efforts.

Florida
The BWM was able to get an update directly from congregations in Florida as a part of their recent district meeting, and follow up phone conversations. These congregations have reported that there has been some damage to various church properties and member homes, but have not at this time identified a concentrated area of damage to require immediate assistance or preparations for work teams at this time. The BWM will continue to monitor the situation as the relief efforts continue.

EWI Province (Caribbean and Virgin Islands)

The BWM has been in contact with leadership of the EWI province, and they have reported the current difficulty of sustaining reliable and ongoing communications between many of the islands, in particular St. John’s and St. Croix. This tragic situation is still unfolding, as Hurricane Maria seems to have hit both areas already impacted by Hurricane Irma, but also new areas as well.

Specifically, Rev. Cortroy Jarvis, Chairman of the EWI Province and chair of the Worldwide Moravian Unity, says that the situation in St. John is especially bad; the sanctuary and manse of Emmaus Moravian Church there have been destroyed and the roof of the Bethany Moravian Church was blown off. Antigua is doing pretty well but very involved with relief efforts in Barbuda. Air travel to Tortola and St. Thomas has not been restored as yet and communication is difficult.

Shared below is a portion of an update just sent by Jørgen Bøytler, Unity Board Administrator.  It encompasses much of the information the BWM would like to share at this time, especially in regards to the damage in the Virgin Islands.

Greetings in the name of our Chief Elder.

I take this opportunity to send a special message and request to you, the leaders of the Provinces of the Moravian Unity.

Our brothers and sisters on a number of islands in the Caribbean have been hit by the tropical category 5 storms Irma and Maria. In many of the islands, where the Moravian Church is present, the result is devastating.

Rev. Dion Christopher, based in St. Croix, USVI reports: We are in a bad way in the VI. We are going to need help and much prayers for the foreseeable future. Many homes and Churches irreparably damaged. Lives lost. I have never seen so much hurt and pain and despair. This is beyond my wildest imagination.

Reports from Rev. Cortroy Jarvis suggest how devastating the storms have been on Tortola, Barbuda and other islands. Cuba has been hit. We are still awaiting further reports.

There is a need of showing solidarity and compassion with the peoples of the Caribbean countries and also Florida, US.

Moravian Provinces are hereby in a Christian spirit asked to remember in prayers our brothers and sisters and all other people in the hidden areas.

There are numerous people who have lost their homes and means of living. Many Moravian congregations are now facing needs for in part or total reconstruction of buildings, including sanctuaries. Already some Moravian Provinces have been collecting money and forwarding help to some of the hidden islands. This is very encouraging.

We ask Provinces of the Unity for help and assistance, this is a special and unusual situation. We are called upon, as Moravians, to offer our help and assistance. Any prayer, any amount of money is important and appreciated.

Grace and peace
Jørgen Bøytler

MDR Update: September 21, 2017

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