Last night a gas main exploded in San Bruno California, a town near San Francisco. Among those who responded to the emergency was a local parish of the Episcopal Church which is also a Red Cross Disaster shelter.
Sean McConnell has posted an account of the way the congregation and clergy from across the diocese has responded:
[...]The Rev. Karen Swanson, until recently Vicar of St. Andrew’s, San Bruno, joined the Rev. Chip Barker Larimore, Rector of St. Peter’s, Redwood City, at a Red Cross relief center one block from St. Andrew’s. As of 2 a.m., Swanson was unable to determine if any members of St. Andrew’s church or preschool were affected by the fire, but said she would resume her attempts to recognize those in need today. According to Swanson, St. Andrew’s member, Danielle Brewer, manager of the veteran’s recreation facility that housed the Red Cross relief center worked tirelessly through the night.
Barker Larimore reports that a parishioner lived in the fire zone, and determined before 9 p.m. that the parishioner was visiting with family in Santa Rosa. That parishioner also had family members who lived in the area as well and reported that they were in Half Moon Bay at the time of the explosion. As of this morning, no other Episcopalians have been identified as living in the area, but many from area churches are reporting that they had friends and loved ones who live in the affected neighborhoods.
Around 7 p.m., the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus was alerted of the explosion and fire and he quickly contacted hospital chaplains and clergy in the area, mobilizing them for chaplaincy work at area hospitals. Chaplains were deployed to Seton Medical Center, Daly City; Kaiser Hospital in South San Francisco; the burn unit at St. Francis in San Francisco; and Sojourn Chaplaincy prepared for injured to arrive at San Francisco General Hospital. Grace Cathedral clergy, the Rev. Mark Stanger and the Rev. Will Scott, went to St. Francis located five blocks from the cathedral.
The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe immediately contacted clergy and lay leaders at Episcopal churches in the surrounding area. “The great work we’ve been doing in Area Ministry,” Barlowe said, “in building cooperation and collaboration, worked for us, and because of bonds built in that work we were quickly able to help each other and our community.”