Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Hurricane Gustav continues to look as though it will make its way into the Gulf this weekend. Given this forecast, we have a responsibility to protect those entrusted to our care. I call on the leaders of this diocese, both lay and ordained, to prepare for a potential landfall along the Louisiana coast line.
I have asked my staff to implement our emergency readiness plan. This plan is designed both to protect our staff and to insure our ability to provide ministry resources that will be needed in case Gustav does strike us. Actions being taken include such things as the following:
* The Noland Center will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday and will not reopen until the storm has passed. The office in Baton Rouge will remain open for normal office hours.
* Vital records and items of historical value not already stored in Baton Rouge are being transported there.
* Volunteers who are in New Orleans working with our Office of Disaster Response are being assisted in their departure to places of safety.
* We are in contact with the seven Deans, and they are in contact with the clergy of their respective Deaneries, in order to coordinate communication and pastoral care.
* Each member of my staff has shared his or her own personal evacuation plan with the full staff.
* The diocesan Day of Service that had been scheduled for Saturday has been postponed until a date yet to be determined. Decisions regarding other events scheduled in the coming days will be announced soon.
Please note that calls to the Noland Center will automatically be forwarded to the Baton Rouge office. In the event of a complete phone system failure, the emergency back-up number to reach the office is: 901.258.0728. Please only call this number if neither 504.895.6634 or 225.706.6634 is working.
In addition, email announcements will be used to notify you of new or revised information.
The three year anniversary of Katrina is upon us. If the Lord has taught us anything through this ordeal it is that the Church needs to be ready to care for her people. Take care and be ready, and may God bless us all.
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