Updated information on National Disaster Response for Mid Council


PDA logoMay, 2015

Dear Mid-Council Colleagues in Ministry,

In the midst of tornado season and on the brink of Atlantic Hurricane season, I wanted to be in touch with you and update you on some staff changes within Presbyterian Disaster Assistance that will be of interest to you.   Many of you have known and worked with the Rev. John Robinson, Associate for National Disaster Response.  For the past 13 years he has been an able, creative, and diligent partner in ministry, endeavoring to anticipate and serve the post-disaster needs of our presbyteries, synods and congregations.  On May 1, John retired from his service with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and will receive honorable retirement status as a PC(U.S.A.) pastor in the near future.  We will miss him deeply, appreciate his many creative and dynamic contributions to PDA: his building up of PDA’s national response team ministry, championing of a powerful work team/disaster hospitality model, a strengthening of PDA’s work in Emotional and Spiritual Care after disaster and our response model for Human Caused disaster.  His work has enhanced the PC(U.S.A.’s) reputation in the U.S. Disaster response community and we are eager to build further upon his legacy.

We are extremely fortunate that Ruling Elder William (Rick) Turner has accepted the responsibility of carrying our National Response work forward from this moment.  Like John and myself, Rick’s entry into PDA as a staff member came through active and dynamic participation as a valued member of the National Response Team.  For the past four years, Rick has served as the Associate for Hospitality/Work Teams, and has built up and professionalized this ministry into a strong vehicle for equipping and connecting the congregations and members of the PC(U.S.A.) in active work team participation at disaster work sites throughout the US.  Rick will now be charged with integrating that work with National Disaster Response, and will be your first contact should a disaster overwhelm the capacity of your presbytery or synod and its congregations.  For the past year, Rick and John have been working hand in hand to ensure a smooth transition, and this work is in excellent hands.  Along with Beth Snyder in the Louisville office, and Eden Carroll at the National Call Center, our national response team will support your response to those affected by disaster within your bounds.

Included in the mailing, and attached by email, you will find two magnets, which give information on how to contact PDA in a disaster. PDA has established this specifically for use by mid councils.

Additionally, PDA was privileged to acquire the part time services of a superb refugee and asylum specialist, Ruling Elder Susan Krehbiel from Presbytery of Baltimore, to lead and facilitate PDA’s General Assembly mandated oversight of the refugee and asylum ministries of the PCUSA.  Susan serves part time with PDA as our Catalyst for Refugees and Asylum and part time as the Advocacy Coordinator on staff at Presbytery of Baltimore. She will support mid councils and congregations in ongoing and emerging work with refugees, asylees and the Presbyterian communions who serve these vulnerable children of God.  She came on staff just at the end of the summer, as our mid councils addressing the border crisis were beginning to determine the ongoing direction of their response, and is a gifted, nationally recognized, and faithful leader in refugee and asylum services and outreach.

Attached you will find brief bios for Rick Turner and Susan Krehbiel.
in the Light,

Laurie Kraus
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
502 572-8301 cell


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