The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
– Psalm 34:18
The mass shooting in Thousand Oaks at Borderline Bar and the devastating Woolsey and Camp fires have traumatized and effected many in California. Undoubtedly, the churches of San Gabriel Presbytery are praying for those who lost family and friends, and for the safety and work of first responders and organizations responding to these tragedies. Lord, hear our prayers!
If your congregation would like to directly get involved with supporting the relief and recovery efforts for those affected by the various fires, please consider giving to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (http://pda.pcusa.org/situation/california-fires/). From my personal experience working with the PDA in the aftermath of hurricanes Rita/Katrina, I can attest that the work of the PDA is highly regarded by government and other disaster response agencies. Various governmental agencies have made public requests that people consider making financial donations at this stage to relief assistance agencies like the PDA or American Red Cross.
The following are updates that I have curated from various websites and individuals familiar with the churches and presbyteries of Sacramento, Pacific, San Fernando, and Santa Barbara, that had churches with members who lost homes in the fires, or had members directly affected by the Borderline shooting.
The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) already deployed four members of their National Response Team to the Presbyteries of the Pacific and San Fernando to be embedded into the American Red Cross shelters in Pacific Palisades and San Fernando Valley (at A.R.C.’s request) to serve as Disaster Spiritual Care Providers. PDA has already released $7,500 in grants to the Presbytery of Sacramento to assist in the Paradise Fire recovery efforts. (PDA Website & Presbyterian Outlook)
Local fire fighting and governmental agencies are asking people not to donate goods for the relief effort but to donate funds to agencies that are directly providing services to those affected by the wildfires in California. They currently are receiving items that they cannot use and have become a burden. The homes of three families that were destroyed by fire are members of two PC(USA) churches in Westlake Village. Some of the graduates of the youth group from one of the Westlake Village churches were at the Borderline Bar & Grill at the time of shooting. (San Fernando Presbytery)
At this early stage of the disaster response, donating to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is probably our best option. Let us continue to pray for the families and churches directly affected by the shooting and fires. Once the fires are put out, and rebuilding begins in earnest, the Presbytery of San Gabriel will let our churches know of other requests for assistance from our sister presbyteries/churches.
Rev. Jake Kim
Associate for Ministry Development