Honoring the Nestorian Christians

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Diocese of Long Island Resolution on Philippine Typhoon

Resolved that the 147th Convention of the Diocese of Long Island (New York) express its solidarity with the people of the Philippines and support the efforts of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the National Council of Churches towards the relief, recovery and rehabilitation of the country following the devastation wrought by super typhoon Haiyan.

Resolved further that the parishes and missions of the Diocese of Long Island be encouraged to pray for the eternal repose of those who died, the protection of those who survived, and the people’s continuing faith and hope in God who is full of compassion and mercy.

Authored by: Rev. Cn. Dr. Fred Vergara, Missioner for  Asiamerica Ministry of the Missionary Society and Priest-in-Charge of St. James, Elmhurst; and Rev. Dario Palasi, Rector of St. John’s, Flushing

Vergara’s Explanation:
The Philippines is a beautiful country in Asia gifted with some 7,102 islands. These islands are grouped into three sections: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It was the Visayan Islands that were hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan last November 8, 2013.

Typhoon Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda in Philippines) is the most powerful storm in the world in the past decades and the strongest in Philippine history. It was declared Disaster Level 3 by the United Nations. Those of us in the United States who experienced the Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy understand the trauma and suffering wrought by these calamities. Super storm Haiyan, many newscasters described, is "Katrina and Sandy combined—and even more." One estimate says 10,000 people died (it would likely be around 4,000), millions homeless and entire villages, town and cities devastated. The magnitude of the damage and destruction is more than a nation can afford handle and so the United States and the whole international community stand in solidarity with the Philippines.

In the Episcopal Church, our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, has expressed our collective prayer for the Philippines and pledged support to our provincial and concordat partners. The Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church  is working through the Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) in sending the financial and logistical support.  Many Episcopal dioceses and parishes have given generous donations towards this cause.

The National Council of Churches, through Secretary General Rex Reyes, an Episcopalian, has called upon the ecumenical churches to support the common efforts. The Episcopal Relief and Development noted that “our partner, the ECP, has done excellent work in the area of disaster risk reduction, but when calamities come one on top of the other, and in this magnitude, the challenges are compounded.” The Obispo Maximo, The Most Rev. Ephraim Fajutagana of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente reported that two of their priests are still missing. He further wrote, “We have declared all our parishes in affected areas to be evacuation centers but unfortunately the roofs of many of our churches were blown off by the winds and were not able to serve their purpose.”

The Prime Bishop of the Episcopal church in the Philippines, The Most Rev. Edward Malecdan also wrote:”To our partners, we acknowledge our gratitude for your thoughts, prayers and support. Indeed, we are strengthened by your companionship and we appeal for your continuing solidarity as we all join hands in rising up after this unimaginable death and calamity that have visited our land.”

On a personal note, I came from one of those islands affected. I therefore move for the adoption of this resolution.

Note: The Resolution was approved unanimously last November 16, 2013. Diocese of Long Island. The entire Offertory Collection during the Convention was also sent to the Episcopal Relief and Development earmarked to help the relief efforts in the Philippines.

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