St. Francis Episcopal Church

Bringing Christ to Denham Springs and beyond

Pastoral Letter from

Bishop Thompson

Dear friends,

In the wake of the flooding in the Baton Rouge area, I wanted to touch base with you to let you know where we stand as a diocese. Over the weekend, I was in regular contact with many of our congregations and clergy. As you know, the severity and speed of this storm caught all of us by surprise.

On Saturday, we sent out an alert on our new Alert Media network through Episcopal Relief and Development. We are one of the “test dioceses” for this system. Through this, we were able to quickly ascertain if anyone was in immediate flooding danger. We also used it as an opportunity to gather all of the clergy in a conference call that was conducted this morning. We were very pleased with the effectiveness of this system and had almost 100% participation of our clergy/parishes across the diocese.

As far as flooding, this is where we stand: St. Francis, Denham Springs received 2-4 feet of water. Robert Bishop, the senior warden, emailed us this morning to report that they were able to get to the church to assess the damage.

Monday, August 15, 2016


Flood sanctuary


 August 15, 2016. St. Francis Sanctuary


Bishop Thompson Flood 


Bishop Thompson with St. Francis Treasurer, Gene Knecht.




Bishop Thompson

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

I am sharing with you the work of our churches and my staff in responding to the devastating floods that ravaged parts of our diocese this week. I am very proud of you and the work you are doing in God’s name to serve those whose lives have been turned upside down.

I spent some time visiting St. Francis, Denham Springs, and Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. Remarkably, this is the extent of the flooding of our churches and schools. My staff and I are committed to doing all we can do to make them whole again.

At St. Patrick’s, Zachary, water came within inches of flooding the buildings. I spent some time with them as well.

The cleanup of classrooms is underway at Episcopal School and classes will start on August 22. Long-term recovery will include the restoration of the athletic facilities.

The recovery of St. Francis will take some time, but they were insured. Our thoughts are with the parishioners, as well as all parishioners throughout the diocese, who flooded and are facing the task of rebuilding. Our first priority for St. Francis was securing a place for the community to worship this Sunday. We are pleased to announce that the Diocese of Texas has loaned us a tent, chairs, and other items that will allow St. Francis to worship on their own grounds.

May peace be with you as you carry on this important work. Please take note that the Rev. Mark Holland is serving as the Diocesan Flood Response Coordinator. Our diocese is in capable hands as we move forward through the recovery phase.

Friday, August 19, 2016




Priest and lay volunteers are visiting survivors in shelters to provide translation services, distribute goods, assess needs, and pass out gift cards.

Operating collection and distribution centers for goods.

Canvassing neighborhoods to determine needs.

Assembling crews to muck-out homes. In some places this work has already begun.

Operating feeding ministries to serve survivors, National Guard and other first responders.

Conducting needs assessments for congregations, staff, and school families, where applicable.

Churches outside the flood zone are partnering with churches within to adopt families and meet unmet needs. 

Episcopal News Service

A month after heavy rains caused disastrous flooding in south Louisiana volunteers are still working to clean up the damage that left 140,000 homes uninhabitable, but the good news is that the recovery is moving forward.

“The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana has entered the long-term recovery phase much quicker after this flood than we have after other disasters,” said the Rev. Elaine Clements, a deacon and the diocese’s disaster and preparedness coordinator. “We are engaged with Episcopal Relief & Development to formulate a long-term response. The clergy of the diocese are determining the needs and appropriate projects in the communities served by their (congregations).”

The record three-day rain Aug. 12-14 mostly affected East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston and St. Helena parishes, just northwest of New Orleans. Thirteen people died. More than 60,000 homes were destroyed along with 100,000 vehicles. Total damages are estimated at more than $8.7 billion.

“Over the last month, local churches throughout the dioceses of Louisiana and Western Louisiana have been responding to immediate needs, but this work has only just begun. The long-term recovery is going to take years,” said Katie Mears, director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s U.S. Disaster Program. “Needs now will pivot from shelters, distribution of goods and emergency meals to longer-term solutions like helping people find temporary housing, apply for insurance and other benefits and begin to repair their homes.”

The Diocese of Louisiana is leading a gutting-and-rebuilding program that will utilize volunteers, who are encouraged to follow this link to sign-up, she said. “Churches across the affected area will continue to use their local volunteers, connections and facilities to reach out to their most vulnerable neighbors and accompany them through the recovery process.”




The Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson, Jr. Bishop of Louisiana “The generosity of people always impresses me,” said Louisiana Bishop Morris K. Thompson, whose diocese covers some of the hardest-hit areas. “People stopping their daily life to go help someone else. It should not amaze me, but it does. Just the goodness of people.”

When more than 2 feet of rain from a no-name tropical system inundated parts of south Louisiana Aug.12-14, covering thousands of people’s homes, cars, and lives with fetid brown water from backed-up bayous and rivers, the diocese responded immediately.

The worst damage by far was at St. Francis in Denham Springs, east of Baton Rouge, where the Amite River jumped its banks and submerged most of the town. Several feet of water came into the church,

Thompson said. “As south Louisianans pick up the pieces of their lives, it’s critical that the help continue. People here already have a deep faith in God, and that’s already helping them deal with the immensity of the disaster and the recovery,” said Thompson. “Many people in the flooded area — up to an estimated two-thirds — didn’t have flood insurance. And federal aid, which isn’t designed to make people whole, will take some time in arriving and, when it does, will only go so far.” “While the water has gone away,” he said, the disruption in people’s life continues. “The church needs to be prepared to handle that kind of anxiety and the weariness that people will experience.” Still, he said, “south Louisiana is full of resilient people who will recover.”

– Beth Colvin is a Baton Rouge-based freelance writer. This post appeared here first: Louisiana dioceses prepare long-term response to catastrophic flood

[Episcopal News Service – Churchwide Blog] 

For more of the interview, visit this link: Dioceses-prepare-long-term-response-to-catastrophic-flood/




Rev. Dillon

Rev. Tommy Dillon from St. Margaret's Episcopal Church assisted in the first service back after the flood. 

He also was very involved with coordinating volunteer work 



Rev.Holland and Rev.Knight

Rev. Skully Knight assisted Rev. Mark Holland, interum priest, during outside services.

Rev. Knight is chaplain at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. Rev. Knight's home in Baton Rouge was spared from flood waters, though    the school had several buildings damaged.


flood meal

Thank you Volunteers for Feeding Us.

 flood volunteers