Message from Bishop Marc on local wildfires

Posted on August 20, 2020. Updated on August 20, 2020

Dear clergy and lay leaders of the Diocese of California, 

Please know that you are very much on my heart as you not only continue to show incredible courage and resilience through the ongoing pandemic but now also face a new round of fear and uncertainty brought on by the outbreak of hundreds of local wildfires. I pray for you and join you in prayer for all those directly impacted by the fires, especially for those who have lost homes, or had to leave livestock and pets behind. Among the tens of thousands forced to evacuate include the staff at our beloved St. Dorothy’s Rest and Bishop’s Ranch. I ask that you pray for them and their loved ones, and pray for the countless firefighters and emergency responders, who are, at this moment, risking their lives on behalf of us all. 

Fire relief efforts in our diocese 

In this fast-moving situation, your safety and that of your congregations and neighbors is of utmost concern, and the diocese is here to help. If you need assistance with evacuation, housing, food, or pastoral care, please reach out to the Rev. Jane McDougle, our diocesan disaster response coordinator: / 650-823-2164  or DioCal Working Group Head for Communication Stephanie Martin Taylor: / 415-271-2441.  They can connect you with deanery-based disaster coordinators from the following congregations:  

Epiphany, San Carlos (Peninsula) 
Holy Innocents (San Francisco) 
St. James, Fremont (Southern Alameda) 
Our Savior, Mill Valley (Marin) 
St. Stephen’s, Orinda (Contra Costa) 
St. Mark’s, Berkeley (Alameda) 

Helping our neighbor dioceses  

Among those in deep need of our prayers and support are Episcopal congregations in the El Camino Real, Northern California, and Los Angeles dioceses. Please add them to your prayer lists and ask your congregations to send their donations through the following links: 

Diocese of El Camino Real: Bishop Lucinda asks that donations be sent to the COVID-19 discretionary fund, which now also includes wildfire relief. 
Diocese of NorCal Disaster Relief Fund:
Diocese of LA: 

Help for all evacuees 

For those evacuated from their homes in these pandemic days, having safe access to basic supplies is challenging. The Dioceses NorCal and El Camino Real have confirmed that they would appreciate our help creating Care Bags and coordinating their distribution: 

Here is a list of possible items for a Care Bag: 

Toiletries, such as: a comb, shampoo/conditioner, soap, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, moisturizer, sunscreen, paper tissues, disposable razor, toilet tissue, sanitary supplies, diapers 
COVID-19 protection: gel hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, mask, disposable gloves 
First aid/medications, such as: bandaids, Tylenol/aspirin 
Food: protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, water, chocolate, gum, tea bags 
Clothing: underwear, socks, T-shirt, hat/cap 
Pet food and supplies: cans of dog/cat food, small bags dog/cat kibble, cat litter 
Other items: Books for adults/children; coloring books/crayons/pens; playing cards; puzzles 
Gift cards are also welcome/encouraged: Safeway, Walgreens, CVS, etc. 

For information about Care Bag distribution/drop off, please contact the Rev. Jane McDougle (see contact information above).  

How else can we help our congregations and neighbors? 

In this time of tremendous need, how can we safely use our worship spaces and other resources to provide respite, housing, food, and other aid? The diocesan Disaster/COVID-19 Response Team is pondering these questions and, in the days and weeks ahead, I ask you to do the same. We welcome your suggestions and commend the many ways you are already leaning into God’s call to be the Beloved Community.  

In Christ,