Aug 31, 2017

Dear PCLT friends and family,

I hope this note finds you and yours safe and well.  It was a difficult decision to cancel services last Sunday.  But given the uncertain weather conditions and the predictions of heavy wind and rain, the session and I thought it was the right thing to do. I hope we don’t ever have to do that again; I missed you all.

I know our hearts and prayers are with our neighbors in the Houston area.  After almost a full week of horrendous conditions, the rain is finally subsiding.  They have a long way to go before things are “back to normal.”  Watching all of this from afar has, at times, made me feel helpless.  (I confess when I saw Harvey make landfall for a third time, I may have called him a few bad names.) It’s hard to see our friends’ and families’ devastating posts and texts – photos of flooded homes and cars; people waiting on rooftops to be rescued – without feeling some fear and dread.

It has been a very difficult time, but as Houston moves from chaos and crisis to recovery, they will need our attention and help more than ever.  Your Mission and Outreach team moved swiftly and has already approved funds to be sent to the Presbyterian Disaster Relief and the American Red Cross.  If you would like to make a personal contribution or help in other ways, here are some resources:

https://pda.pcusa.org/situation/tropical-storm-harvey/

https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

https://www.statesman.com/news/harvey-aid-houston-these-texas-businesses-and-nonprofits-are-helping-out-here-how-you-can-too/CLFBZ3a9wyM2mK3DNbaGNO/

If you know someone from the coast who needs to make insurance claims, please let me know.  Mark’s firm has put together a one page document to help walk people through the process. I’m happy to share that with anyone in need.

Harvey has been unbelievably devastating, but the outpouring of love and care has been a blessing to see – neighbors helping neighbors and strangers, caring not based on the return of investment, and sacrificial service beyond anything we can imagine.  This is the best of humanity. This is the Texas we know and love.

I will keep you informed of other ways we can support this hurting community.  And, of course, let’s keep Houston, Rockport, Port Aransas, and all the surrounding communities in our prayers in the upcoming days and months.

With love,
Laura

P.S. One pastor who has roots and family in Houston wrote the following poem about praying for Houston:

if you want
to pray for Houston
you have to pray
in her way

pray like Beyoncé
when she was
as HSPVA
or Billy and Dusty
shooting pool
at Rudyard’s

pray like you’re
sitting over soup
at SpanishFlowers
or pho at Mai’s
steaming your glasses

pray like the kids
playing soccer
on the eastside
or mutton busting
at the livestock show

pray like the runners
in Memorial Park
lacing them up
or the researches
in the medical center
looking into microscopes

if you want
to pray for Houston
you have to pray
as quietly as
the Rothko Chapel
or Houston Zen Center

and you have to pray
as loudly as
the old scoreboard
at the Astrodome
after a José Cruz
home run

you have to pray
sitting under
a live oak tree
or standing next to
an azalea bloom
while your skin
clams in the heat

if you want to pray
for Houston
you have to pray
without pretense
this ain’t Dallas
and in a neighborly way
as friends come out
to check on each other
in the rain
and those
who are far away
watch screens
and wipe our eyes

if you want to pray
for Houston
raise a bottle of Shiner
to the gray sky
and say that 130 mile an hour winds
and 9 trillion gallons of rain
are no match
for a city of such life
and diversity

you can fill up our bayou
but you will never rain
on our parade