Oklahoma Disaster Response
Please pray for the victims and survivors of the terrible tragedy in Oklahoma. Our church (Presbyterian Church USA) has immediately responded. Fortunately, our Per Capita funds (the per member fee we pay to the denomination) make this immediate and direct response possible (paying nearly all the overhead that administers Presbyterian Disaster Assistance funding and fundraising in times of crisis).
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) will be responding with One Great Hour of Sharing (A Presbyterian Mission Offering Fund) funds and members of the National Response Team to a devastating tornado that struck Moore, a populous suburb of Oklahoma City, Okla.
The 200 mph, F-4 tornado struck Monday evening and destroyed whole neighborhoods. Two elementary schools were in the tornado’s path and one school sustained a direct hit. Of the 51 confirmed deaths from the storm, 20 were children. Additional causalities are expected.
Five counties in Oklahoma have been declared federal disaster areas. The Oklahoma VOAD has reported that many unsolicited volunteers have been showing up. They have pleaded that the information get out that VOLUNTEERS ARE NOT YET NEEDED. First responders need first to complete their work.
PDA previously responded to the 1999 tornado in Moore that caused $1 billion worth of damage, including extensive damage to the First Presbyterian Church in Moore. PDA will be working with Presbytery leadership to help meet the needs of families most impacted by this crisis.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can stand in the GAP for disaster survivors, and help the church in its response:
Share your financial blessings by designating gifts to this need.
Here’s how you can give:
- 1. You can give through the offering plate in worship for the next number of Sundays. Please make your check out to “CLPC” and write, “Oklahoma” on the memo line of your check.
- You can give directly online: http://www.presbyterianmission.org/give/DR000015/
- You can give by mailing a check to Presbyterian Church (USA), P.O. Box 643700 Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700. Please note “DR000015 – Oklahoma” on your gift.
- You can also text PDA to 20222 to donate $10 for disaster response
- You can call PresbyTel @ (800) 872-3283 to give by credit card.
- Following disasters in the United States, there is a need for cleanup buckets for those returning home to begin the daunting task of cleaning up what the disaster left behind. Learn how to assemble a CWS Cleanup Bucket (Gift of the Heart kits): http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/pda/making-gift-heart-kits/
- Volunteers may be needed for future recovery efforts. You may email the PDA Call Center (email@example.com) or call (866) 732-6121 to discuss your interest in serving. You will then be notified if/when the communities are requesting volunteers. Please keep in mind that volunteers at this time are not requested, while first responders are completing their work. Please keep them in your prayers.
As part of the body of Christ, our first and best response is prayer. Please pray for those who survived the storm and will face hard days ahead, for those who mourn loved ones lost, and that the response of the church will be an example of the faithful love of God.
A Prayer in the wake of the May 20, 2013 tornado in Moore/Oklahoma City
O God of love, whose Spirit in creation moved over the face of chaos, bringing life: hear our prayers, as we bear witness this day to the awful power of wind, whose might raged over your people in Moore, Oklahoma, changing lives and landscapes in an instant. Even now, as first responders still labor to seek those who are lost and succor those who are bereaved and bereft, even as stories of terror and hurt are still unfolding,
WE TOUCH YOUR HAND OF MERCY.
In teachers who sheltered with their bodies the children entrusted to their care, as you, O God, like a mother hen spread her wings over her people Israel:
WE SEE YOUR FACE, AND FEEL YOUR TENDER EMBRACE.
In neighbors who rallied to one another’s need, in houses of worship which opened their doors to give shelter, in volunteers who set their personal needs aside to assist those in grave danger and those awaiting a hand of compassion,
WE FEEL THE HEART OF YOUR COMPASSION.
In the courageous resolve of first responders, who listen for cries in the dark, dig through the rubble, tenderly bind up wounds and comfort the bereaved,
WE EXPERIENCE THE STEADFASTNESS OF YOUR LOVE.
We are grateful for the signs of your presence in responders, neighbors, strangers and families of faith, who come together as one common body to save, support, and salve the wounds of those who suffer.
FOR ALL THESE VISIBLE SIGNS OF YOUR INVISIBLE GRACE, WE BLESS YOUR NAME.
Our Rock and Redeemer, who from the bonds of death rose to resurrection life for the sake of Love, be a strong presence among those who, having survived this chaos, now face grief, uncertainty and weary days.
BE IN US AND, THROUGH OUR PRAYERS AND ACTIONS, A SOURCE OF HOLY COMFORT AND A CHANNEL OF HEALING GRACE.
MAY THE PEACE OF GOD MOVE THROUGH US, THE REST OF GOD ABIDE WITH THOSE WHO HAVE ENDURED TERRORS AND SORROW, AND, IN THE SEASON OF REBUILDING, MAY THE LIFE OF GOD BRING OUT OF FORMLESS CHAOS, A NEW CREATION. AMEN.
—The Rev. Dr. Laurie A. Kraus, Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance