Dear Sisters and Brothers:
We know you share our concern about our parishes, families and friends in Sevier County that have been so seriously threatened by devastating wild fires. There’s a lot of information flying around, but very little of it is verified. So we encourage you, at this stage, to watch and pray for all those affected by this natural disaster.
As soon as we have more complete information about the status of our own we will let you know. In the meantime, we suggest that you consider making a financial contribution to the local Red Cross (the branch that is serving this area is the “East Tennessee Chapter”). We’ve also been in contact with Episcopal Relief and Development to inform them about the situation and ask for their help. A contribution to that organization is always a good thing to do.
Several of our parishes are working with local fire and police departments to begin to collect items that are of need as we move through the rescue phase of the response to the fires. We will be posting information about those opportunities on our website and social media for those who are interested in participating in that way.
We do not know the status of the buildings of Trinity parish in Gatlinburg, but have been advised that, as of last night, the parishioners are in safe places. St. Joseph parish in Sevierville is checking in with their folks – a couple of their parishioners spent the night at the church. Annunciation parish in Newport has not been affected at this point, but is close to the area where the wild fires are still a danger. Depending on what has happened, the recovery phase of this disaster will provide many ways for people and parishes to help. So, our work right now is to wait, pray and stand ready to assist when things get a bit clearer.
Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. George Dibrell Young,III and the Rev. Canon Patricia Grace
If you’d like to join in prayer:
- St. Joseph, Sevierville, will be holding a Prayer and Meditation Service open to all at 10:30 tomorrow morning. The church is located at 345 Hardin Lane, Sevierville. If you are unable to be present, please join the prayer wherever you are at 10:30 tomorrow morning.
If you are looking for ways to help:
- Donate to Red Cross:> Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief
> Donate by phone via credit card: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
> Donate on website: http://www.redcross.org/
- St. Andrew, Maryville, will be collecting items for the Sevier County fire victims today and tomorrow. Suggested donations are as follows: bottled water, sports drinks, protein/energy bars, pre-packaged snacks, pet food, diapers, baby wipes and other basic toiletries. Please have them to the church by 5 p.m. The church is located at 314 W Broadway Ave., Maryville.
- The Townsend Visitor Center and Blount partnership are drop-off points for donations – the Visitor Center website has a donation list; see the list at http://www.smokymountains.org/.
- Donate to Episcopal Relief and Development US Disaster Response: http://bit.ly/1zi0whE. A few years ago, Episcopal Relief and Development has already helped us directly in another disaster so we know just how much their help matters!
If you would like to share information or ways to help: