Christians Mark Day of Prayer as Hurricane Season Begins

WASHINGTON – Christians around the country are joining in prayer today with religious leaders along the Gulf Coast as residents remember the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and brace for the beginning of the 2006 hurricane season.

"As this new hurricane season begins, we are reminded that many of our sisters and brothers all along the Gulf Coast are still living in trailers or displaced from their homes from last August's devastation of Rita and Katrina," said the Rev. Bob Edgar, the NCC's chief executive. "As Christians, we believe in the power of prayer in our lives, so we are asking all people of faith to remember those whose lives were so uprooted by the storms that they may be given the time to rebuild their lives."

Hurricane season officially begins today and lasts through November along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Many cities from north to south have been preparing with evacuation plans as the National Hurricane Center forecast as many as 16 named storms this year.

The Day of Prayer is organized by the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, which helped coordinate many of the church-related disaster relief efforts at the wake of last year’s devastating hurricanes.

“We ask that if you could, please join with us in prayer on June first,” the Rev. C. Dan Krutz, executive director of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, said at the NCC Governing Board meeting in New Orleans. “We are praying we will be spared what we experienced last year.”

Members of the NCC Eco-justice Working Group are meeting again in New Orleans this week for its bi-annual conference, which features speakers from various faith and environmental communities. According to the NCC, a large focus of the meetings will be placed on how the Gulf Coast could be rebuilt with God’s creation kept in mind.

“We will gather to expose and explore the intersections of social and ecological wholeness,” said Cassandra Carmichael, director of NCC’s Eco-justice programs.

“We will address several questions,” she said, including, “How do we heal the social fabric torn by environmental racism? How might we respond, as people of faith, to the increasing pollution of our air, water, and land? How might we pursue healthy communities and habitations for all creatures and people? What lifestyles are sustainable in our time, in this place?”