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RE: Please help me promote ERD's efforts in Louisiana

Bishop Jenkins,

Many thanks.  Your response is very helpful.  I am sharing it with the
members of Executive Council and with participants in the Bishops-Deputies
discussion.  I rejoice in your partnership with ERD.

Merry Christmas in advance!


Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12D, E. Orange, NJ 07018. 973-395-1068

-----Original Message-----
> From: Bishop Jenkins [mailto:bishop@stjamesbr.org]
Sent: Friday, December 23, 2005 10:27 AM
To: 'Louie Crew'
Subject: RE: Please help me promote ERD's efforts in Louisiana

Dr. Crew,

I hope you were able to see my preliminary reply yesterday.  Our New Orleans
offices remain closed and we are working through the server at St. James'
Church, Baton Rouge.  We remain challenged in technology. I have been unable
to send messages this morning; I pray this one goes through for I am excited
about the partnership between ERD and the Diocese of Louisiana.

My experience with ERD has been fantastic!  Dr. Radtke stepped way outside
his comfort zone and came down here right after Katrina.  He brought with
him several New Yorkers experienced in disaster relief from 9/11. They were
a great help to us in those terrible early days.

I think I would describe the relationship with ERD as an equal partnership
between the Diocese and ERD.  It is a happy relationship. ERD and the
Diocese have worked together to develop a mission of how we shall serve the
poor and needy in Louisiana.  As I hope you heard me say earlier, ERD is
committed to serving the poor and is not involved in Church rebuilding
(physical structures), insurance shortfalls and the like.

When in New Orleans, which is where I am today, I must work from my home.
The budget that ERD has given us for 2006 is in the Baton Rouge office so I
must work from memory.  The total ERD budget in Louisiana for 2006 is around
$3.1 million.

ERD and our Diocesan Office of Disaster Response (which is funded mostly by
ERD money) have entered into a relationship with an African American Church
affinity group called Grace Community Services.  We do not need a bunch of
uptown folks going into the 9th ward, for example, telling folks what they
need and what they ought to be doing! Therefore, Grace Community Services
will provide 7 (I think) case workers from the communities who will be in
the impacted communities helping folks in the short term with FEMA issues,
providing direct assistance (grants), medical care, and mental health
services.  We hope to have 5000 or so families in a case management
relationship with the Church through ERD/ODR.  ERD has provided a huge sum
of money for direct grants through these caseworkers.  I am sorry that I
cannot be more specific at this time but will gladly provide more specifics
when I have the budget before me.  By the way, the ERD/ODR budget, formed in
partnership with Louisiana, is approved by the ERD Board and will be
administered by an ERD funded controller.  FEMA has asked us to work in St.
James' Parish (the civil parish, not the ecclesiastical parish) where we are
told there are 26,000 displaced persons and where FEMA has little or no

ERD/ODR plans to open at least four "compassion centers" to which people may
come for help, assistance, respite, supplies and food. These compassion
centers will likely be in Episcopal Churches that were flooded.  Dr.
Courtney Cowart of GTS and lately of St. Paul's Chapel, is now on site
thanks to ERD and she will put these compassion centers in place.

There will be at least two mobile "compassion centers", again done through
ERD, which will roll into neighborhoods where there are no buildings to use.
One of these is even now in place and has been in the 9th Ward of New
Orleans for nearly two weeks now.  We provide a warm place, food, cleaning
supplies, clean water, personal hygiene kits, telephone, bibles, and a
caring heart and receptive ear.  The second of these mobile centers is an
ecumenical effort with the Roman Catholics in Austin, Texas, called Mobile
Loaves and Fishes.  It will begin rolling in Jaunary, 2006. We will be
taking hot meals into neighborhoods where people are rebuilding.  We will be
in the FEMA trailer parks (if allowed). These units will also have mental
health folks aboard to help and listen.

In the longer term, we hope that our case workers will address issues like
parenting skills, literacy, access to health care (our Charity Hospital
system in Louisiana is gone and we do not know what to do at this time),
assistance with rebuilding and the like.

For the first time, ERD has entered into a capital project in the United
States.  As you know, in a city 80% flooded, housing is at a premium.  ERD
has provided money for a down payment on a large house adjacent to the
Cathedral and Diocesan Offices.  The old house was a B&B called the Glimmer
Inn.  Into that building, we hope to put accommodations for volunteers, the
offices of Hope Credit Union, offices for our caseworkers and the like.

Hope Credit Union is a faith-based credit union brought to New Orleans by
Trinity Church of this city.  It provides lost cost loans to high-risk
persons.  Of particular interest are loans for business start-ups.  This is
in line with the UN goals around micro economic development.  This seems to
be the most visionary task that ERD/ODR will undertake and is heavily funded
by ERD.  I have asked Bishops around the Church to help with this by making
deposits in Hope Credit Union.

Mississippi has the capacity now to house 1,000 volunteers per day.
Louisiana has the capacity to house 42 volunteers per day.  The Glimmer Inn,
and perhaps even our compassion centers if we can move into school gyms,
will greatly increase our ability to enable the ministry of others.  Do we
need volunteers?  Yes, indeed.  The task of gutting homes, clean up, and
rebuilding will go on for a long time. This is especially difficult for the
poor and elderly.  It is our hope that our caseworkers will help us direct
volunteer labor and skills to those who would not have it otherwise.

You might wonder what we have been doing?  We have had distribution centers
open in New Orleans (the Cathedral was seeing about 1,000 people per day at
the peak of the need in this neighborhood) and Slidell.  The mobile center
has been in Lakeview, Broadmoor and is now in the just opened lower 9th.  We
have been in the evacuation shelters, and at the morgue in St. Gabriel,
Louisiana.  We are operating a food service at St. George's Church in New
Orleans.  Our ministry opportunities continue to unfold before us.

I am proud to be associated with ERD.  I would be glad to host you and
others from the Executive Council if you would like to come down and see
"what has happened down here" and learn how the Church, through ERD and the
Diocese, responds.  I am humbled by it all and proud of our efforts.  Folks
down here know that the Episcopal Church is the "go to" place for a response
to need.

Please keep us in your prayers and I hope you will continue to support ERD.
They are stars in my estimation.

You will note that both Bishop Gray and I are trying to raise money for
Diocesan Rebuilding.  These efforts are separate and apart from the ERD
work.  We have many "church" needs to which ERD cannot rightly respond.

Thank you for your leadership and concern.

A holy Christmas to you,

Charles Jenkins


> From: Louie Crew [mailto:lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu]
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2005 11:46 AM
To: Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins
Subject: FW: Please help me promote ERD's efforts in Louisiana

Gentle Bishop Jenkins,

Mail to bishop@diola.org <mailto:bishop@diola.org> bounced.  I hope this
reaches you.

Have a very Merry Christmas.


Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12D, E. Orange, NJ 07018. 973-395-1068

-----Original Message-----
> From: Louie Crew [mailto:lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 9:09 AM
To: Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins
Subject: Please help me promote ERD's efforts in Louisiana

Gentle Bishop Jenkins,

Dr. Robert Radtke spoke to Executive Council in Las Vegas regarding ERD's
response to Katrina.  I asked him to share details of how ERD is honoring
Jesus' priority for the poor in its efforts in Louisiana. He responded that
ERD's priorities in a given place are always guided by the local diocesan

I realize that you have headaches aplenty in the huge demands now made on
your time.  I do not wish to add to them, but would appreciate any details
you might share of the priority that you are giving to the poor.  That
information would help me in my continuing support and promotion of ERD. You
may well have already clarified your priorities, and I would appreciate your
pointing me to it.

Your diocesan website reports your mobile ministry in the Ninth Ward. I
rejoice in that.  Any similar details would be quite helpful.

For example, one news account reported that prior to Katrina few white
funeral directors in New Orleans would bury black people but that after
Katrina most of the government money to bury blacks went to white funeral
directors.  Is there any truth to that report?

Similar reports have said that black contractors have been cut out of any
significant share of the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.  Is there any
truth to that?  Have ERD funds given any priority to black contractors?

Most of the insured in New Orleans were white.  Many of the blacks could not
afford to leave and died.  Other blacks who managed to survive and leave, do
not have the funds to return.  Have any of the ERD funds given priority to
those most vulnerable?

What percentage of the diocesan effort is spent on church buildings, what
percentage on people?

May God continue to use you as a blessing to absolutely everybody.


Louie Crew
Chair of the Newark Deputation.  Member of Executive Council.

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