August 17, 2016
OPEN LETTER TO THE A.M.E. CHURCH FAMILY
I am sure that by now you are aware that in recent days there were wide spread thunderstorms in Louisiana and Mississippi which resulted in devastating floods that have impacted areas in these states, especially in the southeastern region of Louisiana.
As a result of the heavy rainfall, many drainage creeks, bayous and canals backed up and overflowed causing unprecedented flooding in more than 18 parishes (counties). The rising waters forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. There are many thousands of evacuees staying in evacuation shelters. Sadly, the flooding has claimed at least 11 lives, one of whom is a member of an A.M.E. Church in the Eighth District.
Based upon preliminary reports, many of our A.M.E. Church edifices and members are greatly affected by this weather-related catastrophe. We are receiving reports regarding members, as well as pastors whose homes are severely damaged and possessions lost. They, too, have been evacuated from their homes and are unable to return because of flooded streets and power outages. Reports are still coming in concerning major flood damaged church edifices.
The effects of this devastating flooding is even more heart-wrenching in that many of our A.M.E. church edifices and homes of A.M.E. pastors and members are not covered by flood insurance because they are not required to have flood insurance if they are not in a zoned flood plain or flood zone. (Most of the areas impacted by the flooding is a first time occurrence.)
Many people have asked us what they can do to assist us. Because this disaster is so massive, the Eighth Episcopal District Disaster Relief Ministry is still assessing the situation to determine what are the specific needs. That report should be completed within the next few days. It will be shared with the Council of Bishops and the entire connectional church.
It should also be noted that the Eighth Episcopal District Disaster Relief Ministry is working very closely with the American Red Cross.
Please continue to keep the Eighth Episcopal District Family in your prayers. Pray for the people of Louisiana and Mississippi. And we do know that the prayers of the righteous availeth much.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Julius H. McAllister, Sr.