Photo Credit: US Geological Survey
No churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii are in the path of the lava flow emanating from the Kilauea volcanic eruption, diocesan bishop Robert Fitzpatrick said. The volcano on Hawaii’s “Big Island” – the island of Hawai’i – has been continuously erupting since 1983; but on 3 May, several new lava vents opened up in the lower Puna area following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. On 17 May, the volcano erupted explosively, throwing 30,000 feet of ash into the air. As the lava reaches sea water, it is being turned into dangerous clouds of hydrochloric gas containing tiny particles of glass.
“Kilauea’s volcanic eruption on the Big Island does not put any of our churches directly in the East Rift Zone,” Bishop Robert said in a message on his diocesan website. “There are no Episcopal Churches in the Puna District. It is however just south of Hilo and some parishioners of that Parish will be directly impacted by the evacuation order and immediate area air quality.
“The exact course of such eruptions is unpredictable and the air quality of all the islands could be impacted for some time. Though the Puna District of the Big Island is less populated than other areas of the State, the more available affordable housing prices have led to an enormous increase in development in Puna, and have made this district the fastest growing area on that island.
“It is also an area with fewer resources and support systems. Some of those impacted will include the most vulnerable. The Bishop's Office will coordinate with Holy Apostles [parish] in Hilo about needs and a diocesan response.”
He added: “As we say our prayers those most impacted and as we do what we can to help, we still marvel at God's creation”; and published this prayer:
Almighty and everlasting God,
you made the universe with all its marvelous order,
its atoms, worlds and galaxies,
and this good earth with winds, waters and fiery ground
and with an infinite complexity of living creatures:
Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of life
and strive to live in harmony with your creation,
we may come to know you more truly,
and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose
in care of one another and of all of your creation;
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.