The Episcopal Diocese of Texas is fully engaged in the recovery of our communities following devastating floods from Hurricane Harvey.
More than 30 churches were affected and hundreds of parishioners, as well as tens of thousands of our neighbors. The economic, emotional, physical, and spiritual impact in people’s lives is too significant to measure.
Relief work may take 3-6 months, but the long-term work of the Diocese will be recovery. We will set up regional coordinators in the most affected areas of the Diocese to oversee this work, which will take place increasingly as the relief efforts taper off.
The Venerable Russ Oechsel, archdeacon and disaster relief coordinator for the Diocese will oversee our long-term recovery efforts in close connection with Episcopal Relief and Development. We anticipate this may take upwards of three years. During that same time, our diocesan staff will work closely with Archdeacon Oechsel to ensure that our congregations are healthy and vital so that they can catalyze renewal in their own communities.
The effects of Hurricane Harvey’s flooding in the Diocese of Texas does not change our mission or our context, only the circumstances in which our mission is lived out. Our work is to foster reconciling, Christian communities that speak to the hopes and hurts of people in our communities, to get to know our neighbors and to share and discover Jesus Christ in the process. Harvey recovery gives us a new set of circumstances in which our missional work takes place.
Who to Contact
The Ven. Russ Oechsel - Disaster Relief Coordinator
Christy Orman - Hurricane Relief Coordinator, 713.590.3313 (o) and or 832.915.0223 (c)
The Rev. Lacy Largent - Spiritual Care Team
Jonathan Blaker - Church Insurance/Claims
The Rev. Canon Joann Saylors - Congregational Needs and Ministry
The Rev. Canon Carol Petty - Wellness and Care
Episcopal Relief & Development
When catastrophe strikes, Episcopal Relief & Development and its partners in the United States and worldwide respond to disasters and help to rebuild communities. ERD provides emergency assistance and expertise and helps establish local response.
Working with the Diocese of Texas, ERD empowers communities to meet local needs after natural disasters, to deliver critical basics such as food, water and other necessities during emergencies. ERD remains present long after a crisis is over to help the community heal, recover and rebuild.
ERD also trains local partners and community members so they are better able to serve and care for at-risk populations during a disaster. They work with dioceses in the Untied States to develop preparedness and response programs. Learn more here and here.
Post-Disaster Ministry Resources
Phases of Disaster
Disasters prompt our desire to help in some way. When we see images of people suffering, we want to do something.
The tricky part is responding in a way that is actually helpful and appropriate. It's essential to wait for the people who have been directly affected by the disaster to take the lead in indicating what they need and when they need it.
Understanding the phases of a disaster can be very helpful in determining how you can help.
Click here to find out more on helping in time of Disaster.
The Mentor Research Institute has developed a resource called The Great Storm and Flood Recovery: Children's Story and Activity Book.
This story and activity book encourages children to fill in the blanks to explore their own experiences as well as color the pictures provided. It addresses the storm that caused the flooding, having to evacuate, cleaning up, rebuilding, as well as the emotional impacts of the flooding. At all points, it gives the child a chance to reflect on their own experience. A parent guide is included. A Spanish Version of the workbook is also available.