Dear People and Friends of the Diocese of New Jersey,
Who of us can see images coming out of Turkey and Syria and not be moved? Buildings collapsed in seconds. The death toll currently stands at 12,000 and the number keeps rising. Many more have been injured and an estimated 300,000 people have been displaced. The earthquake struck where people are highly vulnerable. Syria’s ongoing civil war has resulted in tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to the part of Turkey impacted most severely by the earthquake. Turmoil in Syria itself is complicating relief efforts and the delivery of foreign aid. Nonetheless, the situation calls for a compassionate response from us all. A communication released today by Episcopal Relief and Development indicates they are already preparing their response:
Teams are assessing the damage—and while it will surely be weeks until we know the full extent of the crisis, our plans to work with networks of relief partners through the ACT Alliance in Syria are well underway. Having provided relief for those displaced during the Syrian conflict, our trusted partners are ready and equipped to join our ground response as swiftly as possible. And after assessments take place in Turkey, we are well poised to provide immediate relief as soon as we know what is most needed.
I urge all who can to respond compassionately to this crisis by making as generous a donation as you are able to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). ERD is a powerful and effective means by which we as a Church can give concrete expression to Christ’s command to love of neighbor no matter where in the world that neighbor may be.
Please hold the people suffering from the devastation of this earthquake in your prayers. Pray also for all who are providing emergency rescue, relief and recovery support.
Thank you in advance for your care and compassion.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Right Rev. William H. Stokes
Bishop of New Jersey