Camp Fire Update: Nov. 20, 2018

Camp Fire Update: Nov. 20, 2018

St. John's Street Pastors helping move evacuees into shelters.

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We are grateful for your prayers and concern as this disaster has unfolded. Thankfully, our church building in Paradise was not burned, and we anticipate that this will be a benefit to the larger community as the recovery phase begins. As we begin to shift from the immediate urgency of the disaster’s first phase and move into the recovery phase, we continue with our priorities. The response right now is being managed out of St. John’s parish in Chico. We have daily calls with Episcopal Relief and Development, St. John’s leadership, Pastor Ann Sullivan of St. Nicholas, Paradise, and Kati, Andrea, Sophie, and Bishop Barry from the Office of the Bishop. The priorities are:

1) Pastoral care for St. Nicholas and St. John’s parishioners, and any who cross our path. This includes welcoming St. Nicholas into the life of St. John’s: worship, service, community. Pastor Ann Sullivan now has an office in the St. John’s library, where she can meet with St. Nicholas parishioners and provide pastoral counseling as needed. We are planning for prayers and chaplain support as parishioners are able to go back to the burned out home sites.

2) Support of shelters, most specifically the East Ave shelter right down the street from St. John's, and assisting with the Walmart shelter, providing gas cards and information as we get those evacuees into proper shelters.

3) Assisting as we are able in securing housing for those in need. In the first phase, this meant getting people into homes or shelters. As we move into recovery, we are not the first line of action and see our church collaborating with other agencies that are specifically designed for this phase.

4) Distributing gift cards and financial assistance both in this phase and as we move into recovery. The gift cards are being managed by St. John’s staff and volunteers.

5) Hosting Team Rubicon, an organization of highly skilled veterans who specialize in disaster response in the St. John’s Parish Life Center. We anticipate that we will begin providing dinners for them in the weeks to come, and may put out a call for assistance with that effort.

Additionally, St. John's is a site for multiple self-help groups and other civic organizations. These are even more important as the crisis creates pressure on the community, and the parish is working hard to accommodate these added needs in the midst of the crisis.

Canon Andrea served as celebrant at St. John’s this past Sunday, and provided pastoral care to the congregation - representing the diocese and wider church’s care and prayerful response to the crisis.

Canon Andrea with St. John's Street Pastors: Rev. Richard Yale, Alan Rellaford, and Sherry Wallmark

Deacon Lew Powell, Brad Pierce and Richard Yale preparing to serve as chaplains for evacuees

Bishop Barry and Kati Braak will visit with leaders from both parishes on Wednesday, Nov. 21, to pray, listen to their stories, and start to establish what our next steps might be.

What can you do to help? In addition to your prayers, at this time monetary donations and gift cards are the most helpful. As we learned during the ERD presentation at Diocesan Convention, monetary and gift card donations give personal agency to those in critical need, at a time where they do not have control of the disaster around them. If there is a request for specific material donations, or if teams of volunteers are needed, we will communicate that out to the wider diocese.

The types of gift cards needed are: Walmart, Target, Raley's, Safeway, Chevron, Shell, and Amazon. You can mail the gift cards directly to St. John's Episcopal Church in Chico, who will coordinate distribution.

St. John's Episcopal Church
c/o The Very Rev. Richard Yale
2341 Floral Avenue
Chico, CA 95926

To donate to the diocesan disaster fund: 100% of your donation will go directly to assist victims in the first stage of the disaster and later during long term recovery. 

You can donate to Disaster Relief here:

Want to send a check? Make checks out to EDNC, with "Disaster Relief" in the memo line.
350 University Ave suite 280
Sacramento, CA 95825 

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