We, as individual families, have been humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of people from all over along with churches and other organizations who came and are continuing to come to help us rebuild what the flood waters of the Great Flood of 2016 took away from us. People from all over the country came into our town to prepare meals as we cleaned out our homes; church groups from all over came in to help us with the cleaning out and then once things were dried out, they returned to help us repair our homes. Little by little, we are getting our homes and lives in order. It has been an incredible experience to be on the receiving end of such love and compassion of others. We, as St. Francis Church family, could not be where we are today on the church’s road to recovery without the prayers and support of so many. The thoughtfulness and kindness of others has been phenomenal.
• St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge provided a delicious meal after one of our first services on the parking lot. This allowed us to break bread together as well as shed tears together. St. Luke’s also designed and printed our service bulletins for months until we were able to get back on our campus
• Diocese of Texas provided a tent and chairs to enable us to have services on our campus
• Diocese of Western Louisiana provided us with new prayer books and hymnbooks
• Christ Episcopal Church in Slidell provided Thanksgiving meals for church families impacted by the flood
• St. James Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge had the foresight to rescue stained glass windows from the Church of the Ascension in Donaldsville when it closed. Through the generosity of the vestry of St. James, St. Francis has been gifted those incredible and historic windows.
Generous financial assistance was provided by: Holy Cross Episcopal Church-Sanford, FL
All Saints Episcopal Church-Moline, IL
St. Francis by the Sea-Salter Path, NC
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church-California, MD
Christ Episcopal Church-Covington, LA
Christ Episcopal Church-Bay St. Louis, MS
St. James Episcopal Church-Baton Rouge, LA
St. George Episcopal Church-Clifton Park, NY
Christ Episcopal Church-Mexia, TX
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church-Stuart, FL
St. Matthias Episcopal Church-Shreveport, LA
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church-Picayune, MS
Church of the Good Shepherd-Lake Charles, LA
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church-Beaumont, TX
St. James Episcopal Day School-Baton Rouge, LA
Trinity Episcopal Church - Baton Rouge, LA
Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to First United Methodist Church and their pastors, the Rev. Jacqueline King and Rev. Mark Martin; the Rev. Mark Holland; and our beloved bishop, the Rt. Rev. Morris Thompson and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. The members and clergy of First United Methodist Church in Denham Springs continued their hospitality to St. Francis which began over sixty years ago.
When a group of Episcopalians started the first Episcopal Church in Livingston parish, services were held at First United Methodist Church. Following the flood, we were again welcomed with open arms. We were provided a place to worship and to continue our tradition of hospitality following our church services. This generosity allowed us to worship as a church family and to stay in touch at a critical time in the life of the church and its members. For their bountiful blessings, we will be forever grateful.
Father Mark Holland came to us at a critical point and provided the comfort and stability we needed individually and as a church family. He offered a steady hand and consolation. Father Mark brought hope and inspired us to think outside of the box. His greatest gift to us was his vision which enabled us to fulfill our dream of a new church building. We thank him for taking us on and for leading us on!
Last but by no means least, Bishop Thompson and, through his leadership, the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana have walked with us every step of the way. The bishop has truly been our good shepherd. We have never felt alone or abandoned in our struggles. His encouragement and reassurance have strengthened our faith to continue to move forward.
The diocese has been so very generous in the financial support of our situation. There is no way we could have done what we have done and are continuing to do without the full backing of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. Through all of this, we have seen and experienced the church in action.
May God bless each and every church and other group represented here as well as all of those unnamed persons who so generously made donations toward our rebuilding efforts. You will all forever have a special place in our hearts.
With peace and thanksgiving,
Gerald Rainey, Senior Warden