“I will say to the Lord, “You are my refuge, my fortress,
and my God in whom I trust!”
As we see the news and hear the stories of the devastating fires consuming parts of Maui, Hawai‘i, our hearts are broken and filled with sadness. Authorities are calling these fires the deadliest natural disaster in state history. More than 2,000 buildings have been significantly damaged – over 80% of those residential homes, with thousands of families displaced – and wildlife habitats have been destroyed, their environment in jeopardy. More than 100 deaths have been confirmed, and sadly, the number keeps increasing.
In collaboration with the Presbytery of the Pacific and its leadership, PDA has been in communication with pastors in the affected communities and elsewhere in Hawai‘i. PDA has already released emergency grants to meet the urgent needs of the communities and to provide immediate care. The magnitude of the event will require the development of long-term projects and assistance, both for the physical and emotional long-lasting effects. Presbyterians from O‘ahu are participating in coordination calls with other nonprofit and faith-based disaster organizations to ensure that no one is forgotten. PDA affirms our commitment to accompany those affected by this disaster. As people of God, once again we are called to stand with our siblings in the “GAP” – Give, Act and Pray.
GIVE. ACT. PRAY.
Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000165, which supports the church’s response to wildfires in the U.S. Gifts can be made online by clicking HERE, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check made payable to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with “DR000165-Hawai‘i” written on the memo line and mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.
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As we work together with our colleagues in the United Church of Christ (UCC), who have many churches on Maui, we share a prayer from the Rev. Dr. David K. Popham, UCC Hawai‘i Conference minister
Please join us in prayer, e pule k?kou:
It came so fast God, relentlessly driven by winds and we were so vulnerable. Escaping with the clothes on our backs. Lives in tatters. Homes gone. Businesses gone. Jobs gone. Lives lost. Where do we go to even raise our prayers when our hale pule became a burnt victim to the ravages of the fire? There is so much loss, so much that one day was there and is now ashes. Comfort us in our tears and carry our heavy hearts in our time of sorrow.
Eventually Ke Akua, our energy will turn to rebuilding our homes, our businesses, our jobs, our lives. Walk with us during the long recovery that lies ahead. We will become frustrated by bureaucratic red tape and supply chain delays and price gouging. We will fume and shake our fists and we will cry even more tears. Yet, the journey will not be as overwhelming with you by our side.
Bless O God, those fighting these wildfires and those fires yet to come during this dry season. Grant wisdom and insights to our government officials—county and state—as they navigate how best to administer the government response. Lift up on wings our pastoral leaders as they give spiritual nurture to those depleted by these fires.
May we root ourselves in you God, knowing your Spirit groans with ours. Grant us succor in this time and in the days ahead. ‘Amene.