We all live in areas that are subject to natural disasters. Earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, floods…take your pick. We also know the potential for human-initiated disasters such as hazardous material spills or terrorism, and of the increasing dangers of pandemic diseases. Prudent stewardship of the resources of the Church requires that we be prepared for such events. We also owe it to the communities in which we live to provide assistance in the event of a disaster to those affected by it. We can only do that and be able to live out our Christian obligations if we have prepared ourselves and all our Episcopal institutions to withstand the effects of a disaster.
In 2014, The Diocese of Northwest Texas formed a Disaster Preparedness Committee to begin work on Episcopal Relief and Development’s (ERD) new project, The Episcopal Asset Map, and to bring awareness to the topic of disaster preparedness in Northwest Texas. The Episcopal Asset Map pictured below shows the parishes, schools, and the Bishop’s offices located in the Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana area. The black rectangle shows the parishes and schools in the Diocese of Northwest Texas. Click in the black rectangle to view the diocesan map on the ERD website.
Work began last fall to encourage every parish to complete their parish asset map. The Episcopal Asset Map is meant to connect people – both within the Church and in the broader community – to the abundance of gifts represented by The Episcopal Church, and thereby promote the sharing of ideas and information.
The map is a powerful tool that allows you to see not only what is happening around our diocese, but also what is going on in neighboring dioceses in and around the Church. The map can help you build networks with people interested and involved in similar ministries so you may share ideas and strategies, or it can be a jumping off point for entirely new directions. In times of disaster or emergency, the map will serve as a framework for assessment and response, showing a disaster’s impact and how local bodies are responding. At all times, the map can serve as a platform to connect and inspire.
A survey is available in .pdf format and online to help a leader with completion of the parish or institution map. After the survey is completed it must be approved by the diocesan coordinator before the information is added to a parish or institution site.
The online survey may be located by clicking on the location of a parish or institution on the map.
For assistance or questions about the map, please contact one of the following members of the Diocesan Disaster Committee who have been designated to assist with map completion:
Deacon Nancy Igo – Diocesan Disaster Coordinator, Director of Communications & HR, Diocese of NW Texas
Deacon Paige McKay – Registrar, Chaplain, and Disaster Coordinator for All Saints Episcopal School, Lubbock
Justin Sanders – Disaster Coordinator and Bishop's warden for Grace Episcopal Church, Vernon
If you are a parish disaster coordinator and would like to work with your parish leadership on the creation of a disaster plan, the following document will be helpful. It may be downloaded and printed, or completed digitally. Please be sure to consult with your parish leadership and/or clergy before you begin any work!
When a major disaster strikes, each community’s leadership will be overwhelmed and will be relying on prepared citizens and institutions to assist. Another aspect of ERD’s plan is making sure we connect with the local municipal administration, fire, and police departments, and with other organizations that will be active after a disaster. As you develop the Plan, you will be encouraged to introduce yourselves to the local authorities and to inform them that you are making the effort to get prepared so that you will be able to assist following an event and to get active in your local VOAD (Volunteer Agencies Assisting in Disasters). You will also find that they have suggestions and opportunities that will be of real value.
Additional Disaster resources are available for download and use on Resources wepage of ERD's website. Scroll down to view the disaster resources.
1 Corinthians, 12:4-7
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.