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SPDR 2022: A Year in Review

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

One of my favorite things about this season are the opportunities to give thanks and reflect on all that has happened over the past year. Here are some SPDR 2022 highlights:

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

PDA remains a key partner to the SPDR. PDA’s staff provide constant contact, consultation, and care to presbytery and church leaders, in addition to careful stewardship of financial gifts that are distributed to presbyteries, congregations, and partnering organizations in the form of disaster response and recovery grants.

In 2022, PDA provided $94,500 in grant funds to presbyteries and projects within the Synod of the Sun, and PDA deployed 25 National Response Team members to offer Emotional-Spiritual Care, Human-Caused Event, Refugee Ministry, and Long-Term Recovery support alongside our local leaders.

Long Term Recovery

Before the SPDR was formed this year, congregations, presbyteries and long term recovery groups in each of the Synod’s four states have been actively responding to and caring for communities impacted by disasters. These ongoing efforts include:

  • Hurricane Harvey recovery in the Houston and Corpus Christi regions

  • Hurricane Laura & Delta recovery in Southwest Louisiana

  • Hurricane Ida recovery in Southeast Louisiana

  • Tornado and severe storm recovery in Eastern Oklahoma & the Muscogee Creek Nation

  • Tornado and severe storm recovery in Northeast Arkansas

This list is not exhaustive of all the tornadoes, floods, fires, and freezes that have affected our churches, camps and conference centers, and neighbors. I know many of you have been a part of providing caring ministries in the aftermath of these more localized events, and for your quiet compassion, I am grateful.

Stormy Season

The Hurricane season is officially over, and although our synod was spared, many others were not. The season ends with 14 named storms, including 8 that became hurricanes. Tornadoes, flash flooding, and fires occurred across the Synod throughout the year.

Volunteer Hosting Sites

First Presbyterian Church of Orange, TX and Pines Presbyterian Church in Houston, TX continue to welcome work teams needed for Hurricanes Delta, Laura, and Harvey recovery in Louisiana and Texas.

Ferncliff Disaster Assistance Center

Ferncliff’s Disaster Assistance Center, located just outside of Little Rock, AR is uniquely partnered with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Church World Service, storing and distributing the Gifts of the Hearts Kits many of you donate each year.

From January through November 2022, the Ferncliff DAC shipped out 61,022 lbs of school kits, hygiene kits, flood buckets, welcome backpacks, period packs, toothpaste, and blankets. Destinations include Mississippi, California, and Florida (Arcadia, Fort Myers, Naples)

Looking Ahead to 2023

The relatively quiet storm season has provided the time needed to foster relationships across our 11 presbyteries. In 2023, you should be on the lookout for:

  • Me! I hope to visit each presbytery for meetings, regional gatherings, workshops, and more.

  • An updated SPDR web page on the Synod of the Sun’s site

  • The development of an SPDR Liaisons Group & a Disaster Communications plan

Thank you all for your heartfelt prayers and generous support of the Synod Partnership for Disaster Recovery!

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