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A letter from the Bishop:
Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5
My brothers and sisters in Christ,
It has been six months since our diocese experienced great devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Within weeks, we witnessed the resurrection of the trees, the grass, the oceans. It has taken longer to bear witness to the recovery of our people. But, in our living hope through the resurrection, we are witnessing the recovery of our great diocese, our communities, and our spirits. I write to you today to highlight the work that has been taking place and to offer a word about the help that is to come.
With the partnership of Episcopal Relief and Development and the Alabama Diocese, we are working on recovery as well as positioning the diocese to be better prepared for the next storm. A Diocesan Disaster Recovery Committee consisting of representatives from each deanery has been formed:
Riise Richards (St. Thomas/St. John)
LeRoy Claxton (St. Thomas/St. John)
Angelica Schuster (St. Croix)
Gloria Euzebe (St. Croix)
Denise Reovan (BVI)
Cassandra Lanns (BVI)
Beverly Smith Hodge (BVI)
Trevaughn Todman (Youth rep)
Jay Rollins (Episcopal Relief and Development)
Judy Quick (Alabama Diocese)
These committee members are here to serve you and the communities in our diocese. In the coming weeks, they will be holding Awareness Dinners in each of the deaneries. This will be an opportunity for church members to meet with them, fellowship, learn more about the recovery, and ask questions.
Additionally, they will be launching a mini-grants program to congregations and institutions who want to engage in an outreach program or activity related to the recovery efforts. The gospel calls us to be instruments of God’s peace and justice in the world; the purpose of these mini-grants is to provide concrete assistance to projects to take action in your congregation, institution and/or community.
Brothers and sisters, we are not alone in this recovery. We have received and distributed numerous donations, welcomed support from Alabama and others around the U.S., and felt the prayers of the people around the world. We will continue to be resilient. We will continue to have hope. We will continue to be a resurrection people.
With the support of Episcopal Relief & Development, the Diocese is offering a program of mini-grants to congregations and institutions who want to engage in an outreach program or activity related to the hurricanes of August-September 2017 and recovery efforts. The gospel calls us to be instruments of God’s peace and justice in the world; the purpose of these mini-grants is to provide concrete assistance to projects to take action in your congregation, institution and/or community.
Mini-grant applications will be accepted beginning April 15, 2018 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The last date for submission is July 15, 2018. For questions about the mini-grants program, please ask a Diocesan Disaster Recovery Committee person or Jay Rollins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Click her for the Grant application
Care Teams from Alabama Diocese
Our companion diocese of Alabama has been with us in thoughts, prayers, and deeds as we have struggled through these turbulent times and into the recovery process. One of the ways that our sisters and brothers in Christ have been able to manifest their love was through a recent visit by a Care Team consisting of Christine Mercer and Margie Fox. These two women were able to come to All Saints Cathedral school for a week to work with the children, help the staff, and offer a ministry of presence.
As our diocese moves into the recovery process, Alabama stands ready to continue to support us with additional Care Teams as well as Construction/Rebuild teams. We are grateful for their support and extremely grateful to Rev. Judy Quick for her efforts in this work.
Clergy Initiative with the Alabama Diocese
Alabama clergy are scheduling visits now to Virgin Islands parishes to offer a bit of respite for Virgin Islands clergy. A huge thank you to the Rev Kathi Jacob, who served at St. John’s on St. Croix in January, and to the Rev Rosa Lindahl, who has just returned from serving at All Saints Cathedral. Rev. Lindahl not only covered the services, she also led the vestry on a retreat!
A number of clergy are planning visits over the next several months. A couple of clergy are considering serving at parishes in the Virgin Islands for their sabbaticals this summer.
Awareness Dinner on St. Croix
April 6, 2018: Diocesan Disaster Response Committee members Angelica Schuster and Gloria Euzebe, as well as Episcopal Relief and Development consultant Jay Rollins, met with congregation members from St. Peter's Episcopal Church on St. Croix. The purpose of the "Awareness Dinner" was to inform the how the diocese is working within our communities in the continuing recovery efforts. They also were made aware of opportunities to become more involved and plans for preparing for the upcoming storm season.
These events and trainings will take place on each island in the coming months. Please check this newsletter or ask a committee member about future events.
Awareness Dinner on St. Thomas: All parish members in St. Thomas are invited to attend an "Awareness Dinner" on April 21 at 1:00 pm in the parish hall of All Saints Cathedral Church. You will be introduced to Jay Rollins from Episcopal Relief and Development and then hear from St. Thomas committee members Riise Richards and LeRoy Claxton on recovery effort on island. They will also discuss what the diocese is doing for recovery and how we are preparing for the next storm season.
Volunteer Training on Tortola: Episcopal Relief and Development staff will be on Tortola (tentatively scheduled for June 2nd) to hold volunteer trainings. More details to follow!
Youth Engagement: Virgin Islands youth are invited to participate in 2018. We recommend that you register directly and then let us know who is coming, and when, so we can welcome your youth and their chaperones:
Cursillo: The planned Cursillo in the Virgin Islands for 2018 has been postponed until 2019. Pilgrims are welcome to the Alabama Cursillo Weekends: http://www.cursilloalabama.org/events or coordinate directly with John Poole.