SEPTEMBER 11 UPDATE: People who are suffering due to the wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit from emergency funds approved this week for the Diocese of El Camino Real. Episcopal Relief & Development will provide $10,000 in relief funds to aid those affected by wildfires in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties. An additional $5,000 will support people across the diocese who have been financially hurt by COVID-19. Grants are intended for both non-Episcopalians and members of parishes. The relief will come in the form of gift cards for food and everyday needs and reimbursement for expenses such as rent and utilities. Those with the greatest need include residents whose homes have been damaged or destroyed, those who have evacuated homes and/or could not work, agriculture workers and their families who lost income due to intense smoke conditions, plus homeless residents who were displaced. The COVID relief funds will specifically focus on those who have lost job income due to the pandemic.
If you know of individuals or families who are in need, please contact us here; parishioners are urged to contact their local clergy who will help direct funds.
SEPTEMBER 9 UPDATE: The Bishop’s COVID-19 Fund has been expanded in response to the needs of communities impacted by the River, Carmel, Dolan, and Lightning Complex fires in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties. Read about the “Bishop’s COVID-19 and Disaster Relief Fund” and other ways to help.
AUGUST 27 UPDATE: Whether by evacuation, offering assistance to parishes and communities, or simply breathing air shrouded in wildfire smoke, the entire diocese has been affected by the major wildfires across Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties. Read Bishop Lucinda’s Aug. 26 message.
An updated fire map provided by CAL FIRE shows today’s status of the enormous fires and series of fires that are burning in Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, Santa Clara County, and those in surrounding dioceses.
In the Monterey Deanery, the Rev. Tracy Wells Miller, rector of St. John the Baptist church in Aptos, took advantage of a group email list she’d set up when she became convener of the deanery clericus. When the fires erupted, she used the established email group to contact all clergy in the deanery — many of whom led congregations in evacuation zones — asking how each parish was doing, what could be done to help, and to offer temporary housing for any evacuees. “Before the COVID pandemic, I’d actually had no contact with the deanery clericus,” she said. “It’s been great to have this connection now.”
The Rev. Katherine Doar, priest in charge of St. Philip the Apostle church in Scotts Valley, also developed a communication plan to track parishioners in need and identify available resources, using an online directory, a shared Google Drive, E-newsletter, and other means to provide practical and pastoral care. The Santa Clara Deanery also has email groups that keep clergy communicating by email.
Bishop Lucinda and diocesan leaders are in conversation with officials from Episcopal Relief & Development. Follow our RealEpiscopal newsletter and diocesan Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram pages for news and further announcements.
Photo of field workers and smoke taken from Williams Road in Salinas by Maestra Carissa.