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Amish school tragedy prompts diocesan, ERD response



[Episcopal Relief and Development]  Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is providing emergency assistance to support families affected by the October 2 tragedy when five students were killed and five others hospitalized following a shooting at an Amish schoolhouse in Bart Township, Pennsylvania.

"There are four [Episcopal] parishes in Lancaster proper, four others in the county and they have all been open for vigil and prayer," said Bishop Michael W. Creighton of Central Pennsylvania. "Many Episcopalians have neighbors who are Amish. We are learning a lot from the Amish, who have a strong sense of community. There is a communal sense of forgiveness that is pervasive."

ERD is supplying emergency assistance to the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, which will help with supportive care personnel for emotional and trauma needs through Mennonite Disaster Services. The funds will also support an interfaith effort to help families of children injured in the tragedy.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters not only in Lancaster but the greater community," said Richard Ohlsen, ERD's director of Domestic Disaster Response and Preparedness. "ERD's Domestic Disaster Program is committed to supporting dioceses after emergencies and standing with communities in their time of crisis."

To help people affected by disasters, please make a donation to the Emergency Relief Fund at, or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief and Development "Emergency Relief Fund" P.O. Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.