Bishop's Message of Hope and Comfort to Those Affected by Hurricane Maria and the Earthquake in Mexico

Bishop's Message of Hope and Comfort to Those Affected by Hurricane Maria and the Earthquake in Mexico

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

My heart is heavy this morning as I write this note to you.  The past two days I have watched the morning news and been stunned by the developing story of yet another massive hurricane bearing down on Puerto Rico and the numerous Caribbean islands in that region.  My own sense of fear has been heightened as buildings have collapsed and lives have been altered forever as a result of another massive earthquake in Mexico.  These are places that you call home. These are places where you may have family and friends in danger.

Often times the most sensitive thing to say to someone is, “I can only imagine what you are going through.”  But in this case, I most certainly can imagine the thoughts, concerns, and worries that you are feeling.  Just two weeks ago my parents in Florida were evacuated from their rehabilitation center to a shelter where they sought refuge and safety from Hurricane Irma.  As their son, I sat in the comfort of my home, thousands of miles away from my loved ones, feeling helpless to do anything except watch and wait.

I know that this is how you feel today.  As a storm rages through your homeland, there are places and faces that come to your mind.  And, I know for many of you there is a helplessness that comes to your heart and to the hearts of the people you serve.  No matter how much faith we claim to have, our human spirit causes us to feel anxious, worried, and afraid. 

That is why I am writing to you in particular today.  I wanted you to know that I have been and will continue to be praying for you and for the particular concerns that are burdening your heart in these anxious moments of waiting.  I wanted you to know that my prayers of intercession are focused on those in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean who are waiting out this storm in their homes and shelters that have been established, and for those working night and day looking for survivors in Mexico.  Of particular concern, I have been praying for the poor and the homeless who, on a good day, do not have a place of shelter and safety. 

Most of all, I wanted you to know that I have been praying that all of us might deepen our faith and trust in a God who is greater than any storm we face.  It is our faith in God that will enable us to embrace the reality that there is a way through the storm and, indeed, a way to find strength and endurance in the days of recovery that lie ahead. 

Today I offer this prayer for you and for those who are in the midst of the storm,

Loving God, you have promised that you would never leave us or forsake us.  In the midst of actual storms, earthquakes and natural disasters facing our world, we turn to you as our refuge and strength, asking that you would send a special measure of your grace to those who need it most in this hour.  We intercede for those who cannot pray in these anxious moments.  And we pray for all people, everywhere who are consumed with doubts and fears.  We pray for a peace that would pass understanding, courage that would rise above the waves of doubt, determination to face the storms and its effects with strength, and hope that would remind us that before, during and after the storm you will be our God and we will be your children.  Thank you for the calm assurance of your love.  Have mercy on us, and on all those affected by these storms and disasters.  This is our prayer, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Stay strong, dear friends.  Keep the faith.  And know today that you are thought of, prayed for, and loved.

The Journey Continues, . . .

Grace & Peace,

Thomas J. Bickerton, Resident Bishop

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

(Psalm 46:1-3, NRSV)