Katrina #3

It’s way too late and I am much too tired. The day started around 6 am and after the breakfast of champions (NABS!) we headed to the school. LW got the medical clinic rolling and the relief efforts were strong and amazing all day. 200 patients, around 450 served in the relief center with food, clothes, bedding, diapers, etc. It was exhausting and humbling and wonderful and scary. I was even pressed into figuring out electrical and plumbing problems for this school, THAT is the scariest part. But the help was tremendous and loving and giving and so wonderful. Folks from all over the country, hard workers (some went and helped one of my parishioners clean out their flooded home – work they could never have completed alone), friends from my former parish came and did SO Much hard work, nurses and docs from a mobile medic team, two busses full of great people from Virginia, others in smaller groups that sorted supplies and unloaded trucks and ALL of home greeted EACH AND EVERY person as a valid, real, wonderful child of God.
I will try to sleep. It is VERY hot. Where we are staying is still without electricity, although we can take cold showers.
I have learned this – on the list of the good things in life – working plumbing (showers that run, toilets that flush) trumps working electricity (read: air conditioning). But I truly would not mind having both again. But, hey, I have a roof and all the MREs I can eat, and I had the privilege to see the face of Christ in countless people, all thanking US before we could thank them.
Keep praying……..

Katrina update 2

What a wild couple days. Let’s see what I can remember…. I am totally wiped. I haven’t cried yet. That’s different for me, I am usually able to show emotions readily. Maybe too tired or too busy or too shocked.
Yesterday and today we spent MANY man hours (and woman hours, no doubt) preparing the local Episcopal school to be a relief center. We received amazing amounts of supplies – one trucker and his wife drove down from Canada and somehow wound up at our place with a huge load. We cleanued up some and tried to organize things.
Today was HOPPIN. We are setting up a medical clinic, I worked with folks from this amazing ministry, Water Ministry, that provides potable drinking water systems in poor countries all over the world. We put a unit in at the school so we now have drinking water. Then we worked on the power – I got my junior warden to come out and make sure we could receive power, and then THE LIGHTS CAME ON. The power company here has been doing AMAZING work. You cannot even begin to imagine the number of poles down, yet power is coming up all over.
The medical clinic is almost ready and we saw several patients today. More docs coming tomorrow. We are not sure how long this will last but we will see whoever needs us.
Tomorrow the relief part will be fully operating. We did serve a few dozen folks today, tomorrow will be very full. Word is out on radio, tv, etc. that we are there.
My LW is in charge of the medical clinic and is gleefully working hard. SHe so wanted something to do worthwhile.
Our bishop came down and all the coast clergy and spouses were together for Eucharist and annointing. It was a good time together.
At one point today the insurance adjuster for my church showed up at the school (he’s their adjuster too).. I corralled the poor guy and off we went. We went to my former church site – it was still so amazing. The Bishop planted an Episcopal flag on the site. I have pictures to post, I don’t really know how to do that on a blog. We went through the debris at the main building and our two back buildings. It is still hard to conceive.
I noticed the remains of houses that folks had just bought next to the church. Nothing left. Smashed cars. No furniture or freezers or anything. One VERY large beautiful new house on the beach was gone, they had been working so hard. Just the steps left.
The adjuster took pictures and I sketched out the church for him. There was no way to tell how it had looked before. No way.
Yet in the rubble earlier in the week was found my St. Pats coffee cup with my name on it, not even a chip on it.
That’s enough…but this. If anyone wants to give directly to my church, you can do so. Email me and I will let you know how.
[email protected]

God bless
David Knight
STILL the Rector, St. Patrick’s, Long Beach, Mississippi

Katrina update

Every day I hear from people, churches, groups that are helping. Money is being raised, supplies sent, etc. The major frustration is coordinating everything and finding a distribution point. We may have that settled very soon.
Meanwhile, the situation is still pretty horrible. Health concerns are mounting. We have no water or sewer and you know what that means. I am trying to get my folks OUT of town, there is not much they can do especially the homeless. I am up to 27 parishioners whose homes are completley gone. It is mind boggling.
Tempers are up and frustration levels are sky high.
We met as a church yesterday in the 105 degree heat. 45 good people, we cried together (a lot), rejoiced in our blessings, shared CHrist’s body and blood together. I annointed each person with oil and prayed for them after they took communion. It was a very very moving time, I will not forget it.
Please keep thinking of ways you can help. Push your churches. Don’t stop. This will be a long, long haul.
Bless you all.
David Knight
STILL THE RECTOR, St. Patrick’s, Long Beach, Mississippi

It is worse than I could have imagined

I type this from Pensacola. My family did survive the storm. I escaped here today to meet my wonderful father in law who purchased a generator and gas cans for me. I finally found gas and will return Friday with gen. and gas and water and some food.
The coast of Miss. is in horrible shape. My church, which was on the beach, is completely destroyed, I rode down there today with a fireman, we salvaged our bells from the debris. That’s it. Some of our more precious altar stuff was taken off site Sunday, but all else is gone (including ALL of my books – for the clergy out there you know how many that is).
We will hold services Sunday at Grace Lutheran in Long Beach at 11. After that, I don’t know. But this I do know – we will get through this and we will continue to be the church.
I suspect over 30 parishioners lost their homes completely, and probably 90% of the others have significant damage. Looking north from the beach road, there is NOTHING. The storm surge too it all out, no bricks, not frames, NOTHING. It is surreal.
Tomorrow I head back. The conditions are actually worsening. No coastal community has sewer plant operations at all, the health risks are rising. I don’t recall a class in seminary that covered this!
Meanwhile, my wife’s job is over, the clinic she worked for is gone. And we are but two of tens of thousands in the same boat.
May God have mercy on us all.
Thank you all for your prayers. My church was St. Patrick’s, Long Beach. Go to www.stpatricks.dioms.org for updates. Our wonderful webmaster lives in D.C. for now, so she can keep you posted. I will be without power or Internet (duh) until I make another supply run to Florida.

I admit, I am scared

When I was 11 years old the strongest hurricane to hit the US, Camille, came on shore. It actually passed (the eye) right over where I now live, in Pass Chrisitian, Miss. I was in Hattiesburg, 60 miles north. We had 150 mph winds and were without power for a week. That’s nothing compared to the devastation on the Miss. coast. The church I now serve, as well as most of the Episcopal churches on the coast, was destroyed.
This storm is now at Camille levels. While the exact point of landfall is unknown, we will certainly be severely impacted. We are less than 30 miles from the Lousiana border and the mouth of the Pearl River, which is the center of the projected path cone.
We packed up what we could of the church, we’ve boarded windows, etc. My church sits on the beach, a beautiful church in a beautiful spot – and the predicted storm surge, should it occur, will most likely destroy it.
I am going to a parishioners home about 8 miles north of the beach. We will hunker down, we have supplies and a generator. That’s all we can do. I feel I need to stay in the coast area to be available to my parishioners once the storm passes. I pray it’s the right decision.
Please pray for all those in the path of this storm. As I type, the wind is already gusting. Pray God acts miraculously to send some high level wind shears and take some of the power out of this beast.
I don’t know when I can post again. May God bless you all.

Itinerant: noun. a person who alternates between working and wandering.