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Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to host Puerto Rico webinar


Long road to recovery continues following Hurricane Maria

By Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – It has been eight months since Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, and the recovery work continues. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been working with its partners on the island to provide financial assistance to churches and their congregations and plan for long-term recovery efforts.

In an effort to keep congregations informed, PDA is hosting a webinar on Thursday, May 31, from 2–3 p.m. Eastern time. Register for the webinar here.

“This webinar will offer the opportunity for all responding and interested in responding to Puerto Rico to do so in ways that maximize the available resources,” said the Rev. Jim Kirk, PDA’s associate for national disaster response. “We have faith that when we each bring our resources to the table a miracle happens and there is enough to meet the need.”

More than 3.5 million people live on the island, including 74 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations.

“Right now, there is barely any news in the media about Puerto Rico and the ongoing struggles our more than 3 million brothers and sisters are facing,” said the Rev. Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo, PDA’s Hurricane Maria consultant for Puerto Rico. “This webinar is an opportunity to have up-to-date information about what is happening on the island and how you may help.”

Gonzalez-Castillo served as stated clerk for the Presbytery of San Juan and pastor of the Presbyterian church in Vega Alta.

PDA officials, including the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, the program’s director, have met with presbytery and synod leaders in Puerto Rico to discuss needs and challenges. A number of churches have already organized or are planning to send work teams to the region in the weeks and months to come.

“Individuals, congregations and mid councils from across the denomination have reached out to our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico. Many have worked through PDA and some have reached out directly,” said Kirk. “We have faith that when we each bring our resources to the table, a miracle happens and the needs can be more adequately addressed.”

As of the first of May, PDA had disbursed more than $1.5 million in grants to all three presbyteries and the synod, according to Kirk. PDA will also be providing training and retreat opportunities for churches in coordination with the three presbyteries.

To support recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, click here. You’ll be taken to the PC(USA) website to donate securely and quickly.

If you prefer to mail a check (please write “DR000194–Puerto Rico” on the memo line), you may send it to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

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