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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Houses of Worship Come Together for Hurricane Harvey Relief

By James Lomuscio

When five area churches meet for the summer’s last service near the cannons at Compo Beach Sunday at 8:30 a.m., their prayers and tithings will go beyond Westport’s borders to Texas and Louisiana for Hurricane Harvey’s victims.

The Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton, pastor of the Saugatuck Congregational Church, said that leaders of the churches scheduled to hold the service agreed today that all offerings collected would go directly to hurricane relief efforts.

The Compo service, which has drawn between 200 and 300, is being concelebrated by Saugatuck Congregational Church, United Methodist Church in Westport, Norfield Congregational Church in Weston, the Green’s Farms Congregational Church and the Wilton Congregational Church. The service will be led by the Rev. Anne Coffman of Wilton Congregational.

Of her own church’s efforts, Patton said, “We already put out an appeal in an e blast, and we will put out another notice on Sunday.”

Local efforts to help Harvey’s victims will also be front and center when Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn convenes the Interfaith Clergy Council of Westport and Weston on Tuesday at Saugatuck Congregational, Patton said.

The record hurricane with its pounding rains that left communities like Houston and others along Texas’ coast underwater, destroying homes and claiming at last count more than 30 lives, has been the focus of religious charities.

High profile relief organizations are are Church World Service, which represents Congregational churches, Catholic Relief Services and United Methodist Committee on Relief.

“I’m sure everybody in our church will be taking this up,” said the Rev. Edward Horne, pastor of United Methodist.

He said monies collected would go to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, “and 100 percent of the donations go to the cause for which they are collected.”

Horne and Patton both said their churches are organizing a collection of “flood buckets,” sizeable plastic buckets containing sponges, cleaners, gauze masks, gloves and soaps for hurricane victims to use when they finally are able to return to their homes.

“We fill the buckets and send them to a clearing house nearby to send to Texas,” Patton said.

Patton said she hopes for a large turnout Sunday, adding that there is no need for a beach sticker to attend the service. She said that in case of heavy rain, the service will move to Saugatuck Congregational Church at 245 Post Road East.

“We hope for a large crowd and a generous outpouring in response to the devastation in Texas and Louisiana,” Patton said. “We’ll be sending both our prayers and our donations to those who are struggling in the wake of this once-in-1,000-years’ storm.”

In a related note, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association (WDMA) announced that it would donate funds raised from it’s “Cooking for a Cause” Kansas City Barbecue Society competition at this weekend’s 10th Annual Blues, View and BBQ Festival to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts instead of local nonprofit organizations.

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Posted 08/31/17 at 09:22 PM  Permalink



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