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Episcopalians near Idaho fire take precautions

Posted on: August 21, 2013 5:12 PM
Two Type I helicopters draft water from a pond off Greenhorn Gulch Road to dump on the Beaver Creek Fire.
Photo Credit: Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1
Related Categories: USA

[Episcopal News Service] In case anyone needed further evidence of how bad the wildfires are that are burning around Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley in Idaho, the number of people attending Sunday Eucharist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum was a sure sign.

While the resort town parish normally welcomes about 230 worshippers on a Sunday this time of year, only 60 came to church on Aug. 18.

“That tells me that over half of our congregation has been evacuated or decided to leave because of the smoke,” the Rev. Ken Brannon, St. Thomas’ rector, told Episcopal News Service, via phone on Aug. 19.

Brannon said the service on Aug. 18 was different due to the small number of people who attended and the fact that there was no music because it was not clear if the music director would be able to stay “and many in the choir had evacuated”

“It was still the liturgy – it was what we always do – but there was a lot more space for silence and kind spontaneous prayer at the Prayers of the People,” he said.

Brannon, who said that St. Thomas often functions as the “village church” in Ketchum, added he wrote his sermon with the entire community in mind, not just the members of the parish.

“When I saw the opening line of the gospel earlier this week, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry,” he began. “Luke writes, ‘Jesus said, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”’

“Well, Jesus,” Brannon said to scattered laughter. “We’ve had enough of fire for one week.”

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