Recent events remind us that disaster can happen anywhere, anytime. California may not be subject to hurricanes or major tornados, but fire, earthquake and flood — or active shooters — can wreak havoc on its communities. Churches can be resources for their neighbors in case of emergency, and can also be prepared to minimize damage or injury to their own people and property if an event should take place during Sunday services or other church activities.
Bishop Diocesan Jon Bruno has repeatedly called for congregations to prepare and update crisis-response plans, and appointed a team of disaster coordinators who are available to assist any congregation, either in planning for emergencies, or when something does happen.
The coordinators are the Rev. Canon Michael Bamberger, rector of Church of the Ascension, Sierra Madra (firstname.lastname@example.org), and retired Pasadena police commander Bruce Linsenmayer (email@example.com).
Several congregations recently have developed disaster plans, which are posted on their websites. Two such are Grace Church in Glendora and St. Mark’s Church, Upland. The plans are available for any interested congregation to use for reference as they develop their own courses of action.
Episcopal Relief & Development, an agency of the Episcopal Church that responds to emergency situations in the United States and around the world, offers many resources to help congregations make the plans they hope they’ll never have to use, offering practical, achievable steps any congregation can take. The agency’s disaster preparedness web page also includes suggestions for individuals and families.