Dear People and Friends of the Diocese of New Jersey,
Though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.—Psalm 46:1-4
The images coming out of Southwest Florida, and especially Fort Myers, of the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian are horrific. As the The New York Times reported, “The scale of the wreckage was staggering, even to Florida residents who had survived and rebuilt after other powerful hurricanes.” As I write, there have been 21 reported deaths. For the second consecutive week, I am asking you to pray for persons who have suffered from the impact of a devastating storm. Two weeks ago, we prayed and responded to the people of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Now we are called to respond in love and compassion to the people of Southwest Florida. Once again, I urge everyone to pray and to make a money contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development who are already working with their partners to respond to the enormous disaster. Please follow this link.
Knowing that our children and grandchildren are all in Florida, some have kindly asked how they all made out. Our children and grandchildren fared well as they are all on the east coast of Florida which did not sustain the direct hit. Canon Phyllis Jones’s brother was in the impacted area on the west coast and his home did sustain damage but is standing and he is doing well.
Our nephew Andrew is with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and is deploying to Fort Myers tomorrow. I ask you all to pray for him and all the First Responders who are actively working to protect, rescue and assist people in the affected areas. Pray too for the many volunteers who will be needed and who will be responding in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. May God have mercy upon all.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Right Rev. William H. (Chip) Stokes
12th Bishop of New Jersey