The Rectory of St.John’s and St. Mark’s Church in the Radium Springs area of Albany.
A tornado that hit the Albany area Sunday night has caused significant damage to the region including the homes of many Episcopalians and buildings on the campus of the Church of St. John and St. Mark. “Folks were just digging out from a significant storm earlier this month,” said Bishop Scott Anson Benhase who was in the area this morning to meet with church leaders and work with Episcopal Relief and Development to provide emergency assistance.
Emergency Responders and the Episcopal Relief and Development field officer urge volunteer clean-up crews to wait until the area has been stabilized before heading to Albany. “For their own safety and the safety of those already in Albany we are asking them to hold off,” said the Bishop, “clean up will come later.”
According to the Bishop, large trees fell on both St. John and St. Mark’s sanctuary, parish house and rectory and it is unclear how soon restoration can be completed. In the meantime, the Rector, the Rev. Johnny Tuttle, and his family are moving into temporary quarters and the neighboring parishes of St. Patrick’s and St. Paul’s are coordinating with Tuttle to provide a location for Sunday services.
St. Patrick’s and St. Paul’s will also hold a community service on Wednesday at 6 PM at St. Paul’s Church to pray and raise funds for the Church of St. John and St. Mark and members of the community affected by the storm. It will be a Holy Eucharist with a Healing Service.
Albany resident the Rev. Gail Long said that a mobile home park located a block away from the church was completely gone. “There are people who have just lost everything,” she said.
For those looking to contribute, please do so through the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund. The Bishop’s Fund will be used to support parishes and individuals in need. Go online here http://bit.ly/OnlineGivingtoBishopsFund or text-to-give EDOG to 73256. Please make sure to select the Bishop’s Fund for contributions online. Cash or checks made out to the Bishop’s Fund can be sent to or dropped off at 611 E. Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401-1296.
Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Those parishes that have not already done so are asked to please reach out to the Diocesan House with updates.
Compassionate God, draw near to those recovering from the storm that raged across south Georgia, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.