Episcopal Relief & Development: Seeking and Serving Christ in All Persons

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 7.50.11 AMEpiscopal Relief & Development yesterday published their 2012 Annual Summary. When you have a free moment, click the picture at right to take a look at it.

The Annual Summary is not only beautiful but is an important reminder of the critical nature of Episcopal Relief & Development’s work.

Touching the lives of 3 million people across the globe, Episcopal Relief & Development lives into their calling as a “compassionate response of the Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world.”

Is your faith community partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development on any projects?

If not, check out the sections on their website titled What You Can Do and Church in Action.

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Volunteer with the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Efforts

Below you will find an excerpts from an interview with Elizabeth Heenan, Volunteer Coordinator for Hurricane Sandy Response, which was recently published by Episcopal Relief & Development in their Lamplight newsletter.

Episcopal Relief & Development logoAs part of the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Sandy, Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting a coordinated volunteer response among three Episcopal dioceses: New York, New Jersey and Easton.

Any type of group can be accommodated, including individuals and groups that come for the day or week-long trips. All three of the diocesan programs are doing reconstruction in private homes, and have several houses they are working on at any given time. Volunteers are also sent to a soup kitchen in Keansburg, NJ that is still feeding disaster survivors.

Skilled Volunteers Needed
Volunteers over the age of 18 with skills in electrical and plumbing are especially needed. In addition, the dioceses of New York and New Jersey are looking for people skilled in “finishing” work, such as painting and putting up drywall and cabinets. Groups with one or two skilled workers are most valuable because they can help manage the rest of the volunteers.

Currently, minors can do some clean-up work and volunteer in soup kitchens. Due to state laws, it can be difficult to place minors at reconstruction sites. But some laws may be changing in response to the need for Sandy volunteers. New Jersey, for example, now allows 16-year-olds to volunteer as long as there is one adult for every three youth under 18.

Visit relief.episcopalny.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the Dioceses of Easton, New York and New Jersey. Email Elizabeth at regvolcoord@episcopalny.orgwith questions or to send a group to volunteer.

Make This Easter Truly Life-Giving

Gifts for LifeStart a new Easter tradition! Join Episcopalians around the church this Easter in giving Gifts for Life.

A project of Episcopal Relief & Development, Gifts for Life is a program in which even a $15 gift can transform the lives of those in need and bring hope to sisters and brothers around the world. Some giving ideas:

Give a Goat: Give a goat for stable food and earnings. Give a family the opportunity to sustain a regular income. Goats are hardy, reproduce quickly and can be raised in a variety of climates to produce sought-after items such as milk and cheese, as well as manure for farming. $80/goat.

Seeds, Tools & Training: Provide the tools to thrive. Help communities cultivate a better future by supplying seeds, important agricultural training and quality farming tools needed to cultivate a sustainable food supply from the land. $45/share.

Feed Tomorrow’s Minds: In places devastated by poverty, young children often lack a healthy foundation. Pre-school programs give children a chance to develop language, social and motor skills while providing nutritious snacks and health education for both children and their parents. $15/child.

View Episcopal Relief & Development’s online catalog for more giving opportunities.

Do you have an Easter giving tradition? Are you inspired to start one?

Share in the comments below.

February 17 is Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday

Episcopal Relief & DevelopmentThe first Sunday in Lent is Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday. This event – and others like them – offer perfect opportunities for youth to build their community leadership skills.

Episcopal Relief & Development offers support materials, including:

  • downloadable checklist to help participating churches plan for this special Sunday, 
  • Storiesphotos and videos that illustrate the organization’s work, and
  • other Lenten materials that can be ordered through Episcopal Marketplace to help highlight the organization’s mission of healing a hurting world.

Creative ideas for recognizing Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday include:

  • offering Bishops Blend Coffee and Tea to educate your community on the importance of supporting growers of fair trade, organic, shade-grown coffee and tea, and
  • writing a special sermon or prayers focusing attention on the challenges of global poverty and disease.

Recent examples of how congregations have engaged creatively with issues of poverty and sustainable development during Lent and on Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday can be found in the following “Friends of Episcopal Relief & Development” features:

Congregations are encouraged to designate an offering for Episcopal Relief & Development’s Global Needs Fund, which enables the agency to reach those most in need worldwide.

Are you planning to sponsor an Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday activity?

Post your plans and ideas in the comments below.

Great Partnership Examples from Episcopal Relief and Development

ERD PartnershipsI got an email about this great project undertaken in partnership with Episcopal Relief and Development.

These partnerships (with dioceses, churches, non-governmental organizations, donors and other people who support the alleviation of global suffering) are what enable Episcopal Relief & Development to transform the lives of millions of people every year.

The partnerships exemplify the spirit of collaborative, contextualized ministry – the hallmarks of every great ministry initiative.

This month’s Power of Partnerships takes a look at an innovative “green” project currently being piloted at three Episcopal schools in Haiti.  Built and managed in partnership with local community leaders, this program combines renewable energy production with advancements in water, sanitation, hygiene, agriculture and reforestation practices.

Each school has installed a rainwater catchment system to supply water for new hand-washing stations and flush toilets, and a bio-digester that produces methane gas for cooking and liquid fertilizer for growing crops and trees. In addition, students are engaged in health and hygiene education that they can share with their families, reducing illness and promoting wellbeing.

If you don’t follow the work of Episcopal Relief and Development and its partners, I highly recommend you visit their website and learn more. Perhaps it will lead to new inspiration for engaging new partnerships – even worldwide ones – as part of your youth ministry program.