The Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan II, Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast, calls for prayers after a deadly helicopter crash in Florida on March 10:

Beloved in Christ,

One of the many blessings of ministry in this Diocese is the presence of so many active and retired members of our Armed Forces in our midst. We continue to offer thanksgivings for their untold contributions to our peace and safety.

It is with great grief and the heaviest of hearts, therefore, that I urge your prayers for the seven Marines and four crew members involved in the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter disaster off Navarre Beach yesterday. Training out of Eglin, the Marines were from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and the National Guard unit was based in Hammond, Louisiana. Regardless of where they each called home, we call them all Americans.

As of this writing, no survivors have been found.

Pray that survivors might yet be rescued. Pray for the deceased. Pray for their families, compatriots, and friends. Pray for our country.

Give thanks for these who, along with so many others, have made the ultimate sacrifice.

For those of you in the area, St. Augustine, Navarre, and St. Simon’s on the Sound, Ft. Walton Beach, are having liturgies tonight at 5:30 PM and 6:00 PM respectively. Otherwise, I am asking all congregations and agencies within this Diocese to display at half-mast the American Flag at least through this Sunday, March 15. I also am requesting that, in addition to the liturgical and pastoral inclusions planned for this Sunday’s service, you include Prayer 25 “For those in the Armed Services of our Country,” from the Book of Common Prayer, p. 823.

May we all find ourselves secure in God’s abiding mercy.

Image of U.S. Marines Corp War Memorial from American Veterans Center

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