Following two weeks in a “wait and pray” stance toward relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the EPC has restarted its Hurricane Maria emergency relief fund. While the fund had not closed to contributions, active promotion of the fund was put on hold until leaders of the EPC’s churches on the island reported that they were able to receive donations and effectively use them.
Juan Rivera, pastor of Iglesia Presbiteriana Westminster in Bayamón, reported October 18 that banks on the island have reopened, and efforts to rebuild the island’s infrastructure are slowly getting underway.
“We are still without power, and two of our three congregations there cannot hold worship services in their normal locations due to the damage,” Rivera said. “Everyone has lost something, and we have probably 10-15 families in our three EPC churches in Puerto Rico who have lost everything.”
Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, noted that the situation on the island, while still very challenging, has improved to the point that relief funds collected can now be dispersed.
“They have a long road ahead—including untold opportunities for ministry—and by the EPC being ‘much better together’ we all can play a part in their recovery,” he said.
On October 19, Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri presented checks to Rivera and Abraham Montes, Pastor of Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangélica Mayagüez, who were in Orlando for the fall meeting of the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean.
Lizzette Gonzalez, Clerk of Session for the Mayagüez congregation, said four families from the church suffered a total loss of furniture, appliances, and personal belongings; three familes experienced partial loss of their house roof, furniture, and personal belongings; and the church administrative office has structural damage.
“We are so thankful for our EPC family and everything they are doing for us,” she said.
As of October 19, almost $52,000 has been contributed to the Hurricane Maria emergency relief fund.
“Thank you for your generosity in response to all three recent hurricanes,,” Jeremiah said. “To date more than $550,000 has been donated to our Harvey, Irma, and Maria funds.”
Click here to donate online (Choose “Emergency Relief” from the first pulldown menu and “Hurricane Maria Relief (508)” from the second pulldown menu,) or make check payable to Evangelical Presbyterian Church with “Hurricane Maria Relief” on the memo line, and send to:
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
5850 T.G. Lee Blvd., Suite 510
Orlando, FL 32822
Thank you for this update. My heart goes out to the people of Puerto Rico with all they have lost and the challenges to move forward. May the EPC churches there be a beacon of hope in these days of trial. May we on the mainland be agents of hope and prayer.