October 29, 2019
By Thiago Macedo
In September, the Bahamas faced the fury of Hurricane Dorian, a category five hurricane (the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale). According to the UN, an estimated 700,000 people in the Bahamas have felt the impact of Dorian and many still need humanitarian aid and assistance.
In response to the urgent needs on the ground, PWRDF quickly deployed a grant of $20,000 to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), the relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church in the United States. ERD, in collaboration with the Anglican Alliance, was in a position to directly support the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas & the Turks and Caicos.
“Abaco, Grand Bahama and the whole Bahamas will not be the same for a long time,” writes the Rt. Rev. Laish Boyd, Bishop of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands in a report published on the Anglican Alliance website September 23. “There are years of healing, settling and resettling, rebuilding and redevelopment before us. Entire local economies have to be rebuilt. However, right now the pain and anguish and suffering are great, for all of us. There are people of all ages who have been traumatized severely. We will all need ongoing love, counselling and support.”
PWRDF also began accepting donations for hurricane relief. Anglicans across Canada rallied to the cause, donating a total of $152,364 (so far) from individuals and parishes.
Prince Edward Island
By the time Dorian reached Prince Edward Island, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Yet it was still strong enough to do some damage, especially in Summerside, where the Diocesan Church Society was having its regularly scheduled meeting. “To get to the meeting, most of us had to drive past downed trees, damaged property, work crews and communities still without electricity,” says Archdeacon John Clarke, a member of the Diocesan Church Society and Vice President of the PWRDF Board.
The Diocesan Church Society has been providing funds to churches on P.E.I. since before confederation. Don Himelman, Lay Co-Chair of the Diocesan Church Society, was in charge of preparing the meeting agenda. He was following reports of Hurricane Dorian damage and heard about the PWRDF appeal. He had also heard some of the attendees of St. Paul’s Church in Charlottetown were from the islands in the Bahamas affected by Dorian and studying at Holland College.
Himelman moved that the Society give $1,000 to PWRDF, but “that motion was quickly amended to be $5,000,” says Archdeacon Clarke, who formally handed the cheque to PWRDF Executive Director Will Postma later that month.
At Holy Trinity Church in the Parish of Bridgewater & Conqueralls in Bridgewater, N.S., the children and youth joined forces, as they often do “whenever there is an urgent call for funds for a local issue or international emergency,” writes Michael Holland, the PWRDF parish representative for Holy Trinity. They find placing a large galvanized metal bucket, labelled on the outside, to be an effective system of collecting funds. The bucket is placed strategically near the front of the church so that “parishioners and children can deposit coinage (with a great clatter!) into the bucket when going forward for communion.“
The bucket came out at Holy Trinity the first Sunday after Dorian hit the Bahamas and stayed in place for three Sundays. Week after week the bucket filled up, with parishioners adding (much quieter) bank notes and cheques. The finally tally was $639.62.
On October 20, Holland gave a presentation about the work of PWRDF at Holy Trinity as it celebrated PWRDF’s 60th anniversary. It was just three days before the anniversary of the Springhill coal mine disaster, which led to PWRDF’s formation by General Synod in 1959.
On behalf of the Sunday School and Youth Group, John Davies and Olivia Wall presented Holland with a cheque for PWRDF, reminding us that we are never far from our roots.
If your church or parish has raised funds for Hurricane Dorian relief, let us know!
You can give online to PWRDF’s Hurricane Dorian relief by indicating in the notes field or PWRDF emergency relief to support future emergency relief. Donations can also be made by calling toll-free at 1-866-308-7973 (do not leave credit card information on a voice mail) or you can mail your donation to PWRDF, 80 Hayden Street, 3rd floor, Toronto, M4Y 3G2.