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Hope after the storm
Built in 1846, St. Mark’s was the oldest organized Episcopal presence on the coast and one of six churches demolished by Katrina. A 20- to 30-foot surge of water, along 50 miles of coastline, swept a half-mile inland, smashing everything in its path. Only twisted signposts remain to show where the Ramada Inn, Denny’s and The Waffle House once stood along this stretch of Ocean Drive.
Church family pulls together to meet Louisiana’s needs
Baton Rouge has taken on a dramatically different look and feel, not only because of the number of people who have taken up residence there, but also through the grief that many  parishioners share with the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, said the Rev. A.J. Heine, an associate priest at St. James, the city’s oldest Episcopal Church.
Staying flexible is key
While Houston has absorbed the lion’s share of evacuees, the diocese’s smaller towns are full as well.  Orange, with a population of 18,400, is located in the southeast corner of Texas on the western bank of the Sabine River, which separates Texas from Louisiana.  St. Paul’s, Orange, reports that the community has become more ecumenical than ever before.  A local school houses 1,000 evacuees, and more are in motels.
Delivering help fast
A record-breaking gift of $500,000 from Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis to Episcopal Relief and Development will assist with relief and recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Loans, counseling and necessities
Chaplains in the Gulf Region and the Port of New York & New Jersey are on site to provide counseling and pastoral care. The institute also is making grants and interest-free loans through its Mariners’ Assistance Fund for such immediate needs as hotel/motel expenses, clothing, furniture, school uniforms for children, gas, food and utilities. The grants may help mariners rebuild their homes or simply “buy time” as individuals sort out how to pay bills.
Hurricane theology
Katrina was not punishment for sin or part of a "greater and good purpose ... that we cannot understand," she said. "To suggest that God intentionally caused this tragedy for any reason is obscene and nothing less than blasphemy. God is indeed involved in the sufferings of this earth -- not by causing them, but by being deeply affected by them."
Who are we?
Stories of Anglican Mission in action, by people who have overcome great odds and made a difference in both religious and secular life, were described recently by researchers engaged in the Global Anglicanism Project.
Serving Africans here and abroad
Margaret Larom, director of Anglican and Global Relations, announced that the Rev. Emmanuel K. Sserwadda, 49, of the Diocese of New York, with 25 years’ experience in the United States and Uganda, will serve as interim partnership officer for Africa until after the 2006 General Convention.
Hope in the housing project
More than 40 monotonous dark-brick buildings, each a mirror reflection of the next, stand row upon row on grounds reminiscent of a military barracks. Filled with mostly African-American residents, this is one of the poorest zip codes in the nation. Yet in the heart of it all, crowned by a cross, is the Emmanuel Episcopal Center, a community outpost and oasis of hope in a neighborhood where hope is hard to come by.
Take part
Many church and other organizations are seeking donations and assistance for hurricane victims. Here is a sampling of ways to help. You also can check with your local congregation or diocese.
A hopeful hangout
The Rev. Charles Gilchrist founded Charlie’s Place in 1990 to serve the poor and homeless near St. Margaret’s. An all-volunteer staff provided a safe haven for breakfast and conversation.
Since you asked...
Lisa Fox, senior conservator at the Missouri State Archives and a member of Grace Episcopal Church, Jefferson City, Mo., responds:
“It started from a conversation I had with the rector of my church, who was asking about the interior of our parish church and wondering about making it feel like more of a holy space,” recounts Schleck, 59, who attends Christ Church, Tom’s River, N.J. She blurted out: It needs an icon above the altar.
Hold fast to Dreamer
It’s an unlikely sentiment from a man whose directorial debut is about pursing even the most unlikely dreams. And when Dreamer is released, Gatins’ dream of directing a major motion picture will finally, officially come true.
Is justice for all?
For many of us, being poor is driving a used car, collecting grocery coupons, spending our vacations in the back yard and worrying about credit-card debt. We don’t always understand that true poverty is driving no car at all, going hungry, having the kind of job (if we’re lucky enough to have one at all) where time off is wages lost and lacking the income and history to even obtain a credit card.
Reflections on recovery
Confronted time and again by family and friends, I pushed them away, assuring them I was in control. Now, when I look back, the first 10 years of ministry are a blur of unkept appointments, harmful sarcasm, alienation, family tears, parishioners who walked away, blackouts and almost nightly “pass-outs” (that God-given valve that shuts us down before we die of alcohol poisoning).
Apologies are too late
Recalling one horror brings to memory another.  Religious origin becomes an easy descriptor when constructing the ethnic and political identities of perpetrator and victim.  Historically, the liturgies and theologies of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Abrahamic theism) too often have accompanied the violence of offenders and screams of their victims.
Deciding before the draft
Over the years, Selective Service has been just out of reach of those who would debate the pros and cons of the issue.  Whenever a draft appears, it appears as a matter of urgency and necessity.  Therefore the opportunities for people to consider war and killing and their part in it are minimal.
Letters to the Editor
Episcopal Life welcomes letters and will give preference to those in response to stories. Letters should be no longer than 250 words and must include the writer’s name, address, phone number for verification. Pictures are welcome. Send to Letters, Episcopal Life , 815 Second Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; or e-mail to All letters will be edited for brevity and clarity.