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Episcopal News Service; March 6, 2007
Remembering Katrina: A new Urban Ministry Center is dedicated

by Malaika Kamunanwire

[ENS] The bishop of Louisiana diocese joined hands with the president of Episcopal Relief and Development to open another new initiative in New Orleans on February 26 with the dedication of the Episcopal Urban Ministry Center adjacent to the diocesan offices.

The ministry center will be the new headquarters of the comprehensive humanitarian services for post-Katrina rebuilding programs.

"The opening and dedication of this ministry center represents our partnership with ERD and our commitment to the recovery and rebuilding of New Orleans," said Bishop Charles E. Jenkins.

Located in the Center City neighborhood, the ministry center will help to meet the needs of people now living in New Orleans and those who are returning. It will house a community room, case management services, housing for volunteer workers and offices for the Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative.

A brass band, composed of high school students, opened the dedication ceremony at the center's headquarters on Seventh Street between Carondelet Street and St. Charles Avenue. Participants and guests included of community leaders, clergy and diocesan staff and ERD's Board of Directors.

A testimony to commitment After an introduction by Bishop Jenkins, speakers included Pastor John E. Pierre of Living Witness Church in Central City; Saundra Reed, co-director of the Central City Renaissance Alliance, Bishop Harry Bainbridge, chair of ERD's Board of Directors; and Robert W. Radtke, ERD president.

Radtke acknowledged the resilience of New Orleanians for "showing us the power of faith - how it transforms people to overcome enormous obstacles.

"The Episcopal Urban Ministry Center is a wonderful testimony to the commitment of the Episcopal Church in Louisiana and the people of this city," he said. "This center will be a sanctuary to help people heal and access critical services such as pastoral care, counseling, housing and many others so they can rebuild their lives.

"These recovery efforts demonstrate the incredible resilience and courage of the Diocese of Louisiana. In partnership with the diocese, the generosity of Episcopalians has enabled Episcopal Relief and Development to commit over $10 million to impact 200,000 people through psychosocial counseling, health care, livelihood renewal and housing," Radtke said.

Bishop Bainbridge, chair of ERD's board, commended the diocese for its dedication to Katrina survivors and talked about the signs of a new day. "What is before us is a new day of hope. We are committed to standing with our brothers and sisters as you work out what the future will be," he said.

Members of ERD's board decided to meet in New Orleans to have the opportunity to witness first-hand the impact of the work of the diocese and ERD's recovery programs on survivors and devastated communities.

Full story and photos: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_83153_ENG_HTM.htm

--Malaika Kamunanwire is senior director for marketing and communications for Episcopal Relief and Development.

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