Thank you for your support and donations this week for the wildfire response from St. Christopher’s. We decided before last Sunday’s service that we as a parish wanted to give as personalized and direct a response as we could to what is happening around our province. We decided that we would support St. George’s Anglican Church in West Kelowna and I am delighted to share that we have sent $2,445 to them this week and this will be going directly to those affected in a significant way from the fires.
I spoke to Rev. Jackie Eaton this week who passed on her appreciation to St. Christopher and shared updates about how multiple members of the Parish know that their properties have been destroyed in fires and also that many do not know what they will be returning to. The entire parish has been either evacuated or been on alert this week, and as a community they had a very surreal experience last Sunday of going around their building labeling all sentimental and valuable items should an evacuation be required of the Church building itself. Fortunately, the weather has become more favorable as the week has gone on and firefighting efforts are doing their best to protect their community. In this regard they remain hopeful although things are still uncertain.
Rev. Jackie wanted me to share with you that the donations from St. Christopher’s will go directly to parishioners who have lost homes. Rebuilding efforts, insurance claims and all that goes along with this takes a substantial amount of time (as we have seen with the residents of Lytton) and so there is immediate need for things like accommodation, groceries, clothing, and supplies and that is what our money will be going to.
The Parish of St. George has been historically linked with camp OAC, having had its founding members of the camp from their parish. They have had over the years a long legacy of staff, volunteers and campers from the parish right up to and including two of Jackie’s children who were on staff this summer and were evacuated by Jackie last Saturday. Camp OAC has been all but destroyed by the fires which you can read about here from Archbishop Lynn McNaughton: https://www.kootenayanglican.ca/news/update-on-camp-oac-pastoral-letter
Elsewhere in the Shuswap region we have daily updates coming from Sorrento Center, our Anglican retreat center: https://sorrentocentre.ca/wildfire-updates/
We will continue to offer our prayers to the communities that we care about, as well as all those near and far who have been affected by these tragic events.
Thank you to everyone who has shared stories, offered prayers and support this week.
We will continue to feel overwhelmed and somewhat helpless, but it is so encouraging to see this collective response. We are an amazing community, and I am truly grateful to you all.
Peace and blessings
Rev. Jonathan Pinkney