As Hurricane Matthew makes its way up the east coast of the United States then heads out to sea, it leaves devastation in its wake in the Caribbean, particularly in Haiti. As of this writing, over 400 Haitian men, women and children are known to have died, and the death toll will surely rise as the full extent of the devastation becomes clear. Tens of thousands of homes and been destroyed and vital infrastructure has been obliterated: all this in a small island nation that has not yet fully recovered from the horrific earthquake of 2010. As aid efforts continue, health authorities are concerned about a surge of cholera in areas where sanitation systems are compromised or overwhelmed.
We in the Diocese of Virginia have a deep connection with Haiti, which is the largest diocese in The Episcopal Church. Many of our congregations have relationships with towns and congregations in Haiti, and significant numbers of our parishioners visit every year. In this distressing moment, we urge your prayers for the people of Haiti, particularly in worship this Sunday morning. As we watch the storm today and over the weekend, we also hold in mind and in prayer those who suffer loss here in the US. May God's hand lift them all. A suggested prayer is below.
We also invite your monetary gifts for Haiti support to Episcopal Relief and Development, the outreach arm of our Episcopal Church. Go to www.episcopalrelief.org. Information and a form for giving are on the homepage of the site.
Let us pray.
Holy God, you see the devastation experienced by your beloved people in Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean as Hurricane Matthew moves on. The loss is unimaginable to us, the need beyond our comprehension. So we come before you, asking you to comfort the bereaved, heal the broken, give courage to all who have suffered loss and all who offer aid, and bring the departed to your heavenly home. Lead us in the Diocese of Virginia to respond in deep compassion through our prayers and our other concrete actions, always reminding us that we are one family, one humanity, brothers and sisters in your love. We ask it all in the name of Jesus. Amen.