New: Sept. 24 TLC Online

The Sept. 24 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers.

In this edition, TLC correspondent Kirk Petersen writes about the efforts of Episcopalians in Texas to help those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey:

When Harvey made landfall late Friday, Aug. 25, the eye of the hurricane plowed right through Port Aransas, a town of about 4,000 located on a vulnerable barrier island 200 miles southwest of Houston, in the neighboring Diocese of West Texas.

“Port A” is the home of Trinity by the Sea Church, which in the next week would become a major hub for coordinating disaster response throughout the town and beyond.

“They’ve organized all the supplies that have been brought in, they’ve cleaned up the large debris around the church grounds, they’re now sending volunteer teams out to help more in the community,” said Laura Shaver, communications officer for the Diocese of West Texas.

Trinity’s church and parish hall had been boarded up before the storm, and survived with only minor damage, although the surrounding town was hit hard. The rectory kept its walls intact but lost part of its roof and had to be gutted inside. The day-school building lost its roof, and a small building dedicated to an Alcoholics Anonymous group “was completely pancaked,” said Jennifer Wickham, who put in seven marathon days shepherding the recovery effort not just at Trinity but eventually in the broader community.

Wickham does not live in Port Aransas. She is married to the Rev. Jonathan Wickham, rector of All Saints in Corpus Christi, on the other side of the bay. (All Saints lost its steeple and had some roof and water damage, but the building was secured quickly after the storm.)

She’s Episcopalian through and through — both her sisters are also married to priests, one of her sisters is herself a priest, her mother is a deacon, and she is employed remotely by the Diocese of Haiti, as director of development for St. Vincent’s Centre for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince.

“Two days before the hurricane I buried my father in Missouri, and then flew home when the storm escalated,” Wickham said.


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