Disaster Relief

Three Things I Wish Every Church and Pastor Knew About Being Prepared

Donald Remick


Friends, every fall emergency services focuses on disaster preparedness and fire prevention.   For years I have spent part of my ministry in the field of Disaster Preparedness and Recovery.  I have served as the coordinator of a Long Term Recovery Group for northern Massachusetts.  I have ministered as a fire department chaplain and on a Critical Incident Stress Management team.  I have trained in a variety of disaster and trauma response programs.  And I know that disasters are going to come ...

California Wildfires

Donald Remick


Wildfires have become a regular plague for the people of California.  The year began with sweeping fires in January.  More lives and homes were lost in July.  And now the daily news captures images of fires as the year comes to a close.  This is the season of holiday cards showing folks gathering around the table for a meal or around the hearth for stories.  Kitchens, cards, hearth and home are gone.  And too many people face this holiday grieving the fresh loss of loved ones.  The loss of lives...

Comfort and Children

Rachel Bickford


When it comes to emergency or disaster situations, once we know our families and pets are safe we are left to think about what we need to bring with us to either a friend’s home, shelter or hotel.    We know the essentials but what about our little ones? The first thing I thought of was bringing the obvious – my daughter’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket, and favorite book.  But wading through an evacuation or storm may take longer than expected.  So here are some of the things I pack in a ...

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Estelle Margarones


September is national Preparedness Month and your Disaster Resource and Response Team invites you to consider the implications of emergencies and disasters on children, youth, and young adults.  Rev. Rachel Bickford offers a practical resource for little ones during and following a time of evacuation here.  Children, youth, and young adults all process traumatic events differently.    If you could drink from the fountain of youth, but you had to begin again at age 13, would you do it?  Teenage ...


Donald Remick


This month is Disaster Preparedness month.   You will find another great resource here: Disaster Resiliency (PDF) written by Judy O'Donnell.  And we have seen that resilience unfold as the news covered the explosions and fires from an over-pressurized gas line in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence.   You home is supposed to be your place of rest, escape, safety, and renewal.  It is hard to describe the disruption of psyche and soul when you are forced to evacuate because your home has become ...

Disaster preparation: here it comes -- again

Donald Remick


Friends, It has been a year since hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.  And, as I write this, hurricane Florence is bearing down on the mid Atlantic coast with 2 more hurricanes on its heels.   Florence is predicted to make landfall at Category 4 strength and linger with rainfall measured in feet.  And Hawaii, normally hurricane exempt, is slogging out of torrential rain from hurricane Lane, even as the lava keeps flowing.  Meanwhile, in California, conditions are so dry that we can't keep up with...

Blessing the backpacks? Include an emergency contact card!

Lucy Costa


September is Preparedness Month and your Disaster Resource and Response Team brings you a wealth of resources. As we head back to school and back to church, we offer you a bulletin insert prepared by team member Judie O'Donnell and designed specifically with children in mind. One of my favorite services at my church is the Blessing of the Backpacks. At this service, we not only honor the work that children and youth do during the school year but also express our love and care for the children ...

When Tragedy Strikes, Churches Respond

Donald Remick


Friends,  As I write this, the local news this morning is leading with a story of a police officer killed in the line of duty in Weymouth this past weekend. Officer Michael Chesna and bystander Vera Adams were both shot and succumbed to their injuries. For several years, while a pastor, I served as a chaplain to both the fire and police departments.  I am keenly aware of the pain experienced by these departments when one of their own dies in the line of duty.  I am also aware of the trauma and ...

Keeping Watch – How Vigils Can Prepare Us for the Next Chapter

Jessica McArdle


by Rev. Dr. Jessica McArdle [The first Passover] was a vigil held by the Lord…to bring God’s people out of the land of Egypt.~ Exodus 11:42 Then Jesus said, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and keep watch with me.~ Matthew 26:38   Earlier this spring, I was invited to an interfaith panel presentation and discussion on death and the afterlife. It was just a few short weeks after the Parkland High School shooting. The gathered assembly represented a diverse background in ...

Could Your Church be an Emergency Shelter?

Steven Aucella


During the Winter 2018 storms, a well-known disaster response organization reached out to local churches to see if any of them could offer shelter accommodations to about a dozen people...Having an agreement with response/relief agencies BEFORE a disaster occurs will go far to smooth out the process.

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