Adapted from a report by Eugene Johnston, diocesan representative of Episcopal Relief and Development in the Central Gulf Coast:

On October 18, Katie Mears, the senior director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s U.S. Disaster Program, visited the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast to meet with Bishop Russell Kendrick and see some of the devastation resulting from Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in the Panama City area on October 10.

Mears also met with Dwight Babcock, the diocesan administrator; Chris Heaney, the diocesan coordinator for Hurricane Michael relief; and Deacon Tricia Spencer, the diocesan preparedness and response coordinator.

… The first stop was Holy Nativity, where the rector, the Rev. Steve Bates, shared how neighboring churches were responding to the needs of the parish, the community area, and the Holy Nativity School. Much damage was done to the school, which hopes to restart around December 1.

The second visit was to St. Andrew’s, whose rector, the Rev. Dr. Margaret Shepard, and curate, the Rev. Molly Payne-Hardin, have spoken to almost all the members of the parish and were planning a variety of services in the next several Sundays to focus on helping people feel a part of the larger St. Andrew’s community.

The final visit was to Grace Episcopal Church, where the priest-in-charge, the Rev. Mary Alice Mathison, was preparing to host “Supper at Grace” which is an outreach program that provides a free meal every Thursday evening in the parish hall for people living in the area. Mathison was not sure how the hurricane would affect attendance, but food security was a big concern for many in the area.

… Donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis.

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