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Statement on the Baxter Springs tornado
Bishop Dean Wolfe sent this message on April 28, 2014, to members of the diocese, asking for financial contributions and prayers for those affected by recent tornados in the region.
We who live where the prairie meets the plains are aware of the extreme weather patterns indigenous to our region. Tornados form with great regularity where the cool, dry air from the Rocky Mountains meets the warm moist air of the Gulf of Mexico. Still, we never get used to the destruction caused by these storms, and we are always shocked by the injuries and the loss of life which accompany them.
A deadly tornado swept through parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas Sunday leaving more than a dozen casualties and many others injured. Homes, businesses and civic buildings have been destroyed, and any number of people have lost everything they own. In Baxter Springs, 60 to 70 homes and at least 20 businesses have been reported as destroyed by a tornado estimated to be three blocks wide.
The immediate concern is for the rescue efforts now taking place. We pray for the victims of this terrible storm, as well as for the first responders who are caring for them. As time goes by, additional needs will be identified, and we will make them known to you.
I’ve spoken this morning to Bishop Ed Konieczny of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma and Bishop Larry Benfield of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas to extend my prayers and support on behalf of our diocese. I am asking the clergy of our diocese to include the victims of these storms in the Prayers of the People this Sunday, and I am asking all the people of this good diocese to pray for those who are in great need.
Additionally, I am requesting an offering be taken in each parish for the victims of this tragedy that will be sent to Episcopal Relief and Development, an organization that has done such solid work in caring for the victims of floods and storms in our diocese in the past.
Parishes should forward one check from their special collection to the diocese. Please make checks payable to “Episcopal Diocese of Kansas,” with “Tornado Relief” in the memo line. Mail checks to Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, Tornado Relief, 835 SW Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612.
On the road to Emmaus the disciples discovered, to their great surprise, the Risen Lord in their midst. Even in the midst of their grief over the crucifixion of our Lord, they found a great hope. May we discover Christ’s living presence in the midst of tragedy, and may we be drawn closer together in the midst of the storms of life.
Grace & Peace,
The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe
The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas