In March, I led a small delegation from The Episcopal Church to the Diocese of Liberia. We were deeply impressed by the fortitude and faith of the people we met, who were still recovering from twenty years of a brutal Civil War.
A smaller group of us were scheduled to travel back to Liberia in early July to attend the enthronement of Jonathan Hart, Bishop of Liberia, as the Archbishop of West Africa. We didn’t go, as the Ebola epidemic was beginning to spread through the capital city of Monrovia.
In the month since then, the epidemic has spread and taken more lives. Archbishop Hart tells me that all of the diocesan clergy are well, and have instituted safety measures as outlined by the Liberian Department of Public Health. Most churches are open, and he tells me that communion is restricted to intinction. Archbishop Hart and other religious leaders are meeting this week with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to coordinate protection and response.
When asked what we might do to help, his office has sent a list of need to LECUSA (the Liberian Episcopal Church in the US, a network of Liberian Episcopalians living in the US).
I invite your prayers and various opportunities to respond, as listed in the letter below from LECUSA.
Dear Friends (Bishops, Rectors/Assistants, Vicars, Priest-In-Charge, Clergy in The Episcopal Church),
Time is of the essence and the quick actions we take now, would save lives and help alleviate the sufferings of those exposed to the deadly EBOLA virus. The Liberian Episcopal Community in the USA (LECUSA), comprising of Diaspora Liberian Episcopalians and friends, in conjunction with The Most Rev. Jonathan B. B. Hart, Archbishop of the Internal province of West Africa (IpWA) and Bishop of Liberia; and with the support of the Presiding Bishop’s Canon, the Office for Global Partnerships in Sub Saharan Africa and other partners, hereby announce the "LECUSA Ebola Relief Assistance."
The following medical supplies and items are urgently needed: spraying kits, gloves, facial masks, eye protectors, disposable gowns, rubber aprons, plastic shoe covers, buckets/drums (with faucets), chlorine tablets, disinfectants, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers, bandages, band aids, blankets, beddings, mattress cover, tablets for pain/fever relief, dry food items, etc. These items will be shipped directly to the Episcopal Church of Liberia for immediate distribution with the help of the ERD/ECL Program Coordinator in Liberia.
You can assist us by connecting LECUSA to organizations, individuals, manufacturers, hospitals, etc., that donate medical supplies and or dry food items. LECUSA collection point for donated materials for shipment to Liberia is: Trinity Episcopal Church, 7005 Piney Branch Road, N.W., Washington DC 20012; Attention: Canon John T. Harmon, Rector. Please mark on the box: LECUSA Ebola Relief Assistance. You may contact the Chairman of LECUSA, Fr. James T. Yarsiah, Chaplain/Vicar at Voorhees College, P. O. Box 678, Denmark SC 29042; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-810-3500 (mobile).
We welcome financial donations. A secured electronic donation can be made on the internet, at LECUSA’s website: www.lecusa.net, see the top of the page. Checks/cash can be deposited into LECUSA's account at Bank of America, Routing number: 053000196; Account number:237000697574; Account name: (LECUSA INC), based in South Carolina. If you choose to send a check, please write in the memo: "LECUSA Ebola Relief Assistance” and mail to LECUSA’s Financial Secretary: Mr. David T. Hanson, 32 Knoll Drive, Blackwood, NJ 08012.
Monetary contributions will go towards the purchase of supplies, dry food items and to help defray the cost of shipment of items within/outside of the USA. All contributions/gifts will be acknowledged upon receipt.
LECUSA is sincerely grateful to The Episcopal Church and all our partners for your thoughts and prayers during this critical period. Please note that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa to be “an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.” On August 9, 2014, the Ebola death toll has exceeded 1013 and the suspected cases have passed 1,848 and climbing. This is very alarming and we must respond in the most loving and caring manner!
LECUSA collection point for donated materials for shipment to Liberia is: Trinity Episcopal Church, 7005 Piney Branch Road, N.W., Washington DC 20012; Attention: Canon John T. Harmon, Rector. Please mark on the box: LECUSA Ebola Relief Assistance.
Fr. James T. Yarsiah, LECUSA Chairman
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