Pray for Maui

August 15, 2023

Dear Members of the Diocese of South Dakota,

May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ rest upon each one of you.

I write to invite you to join me in prayer and financial support of those whose lives, homes and worship spaces have been tragically impacted by the fires in Maui, especially those who live in the Lahaina community. Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, established in 1898, is believed to have been completely destroyed. According to Episcopal News Service, the early worship services were conducted using Hawaiian King Kamehameha IV’s translation of the Book of Common Prayer, and Bishop Fitzpatrick reports that all the pews in the church had names of Native Hawaiians.

I have written to Bishop Fitzpatrick and conveyed our collective prayers of support and healing for his Diocese and those who are deeply engaged in the recovery and restoration process. Additionally, and in response to his message on the diocesan website, a donation has been made to “A Cup of Cold Water,” an Episcopal outreach ministry program in Maui.

Bishop Fitzpatrick is asking all of us to pray the following prayer for those who are facing wildfires, and I encourage you to incorporate it into your daily and Saturday/Sunday worship services in your congregations:

O God, our refuge and strength, our help in times of trouble. Have mercy on the lands damaged by fires. Have mercy on the lands where the weather has destroyed livelihoods. Protect those who evacuate houses, and strengthen those who rebuild hope so that entire communities may face the future without fear. Amen.


The Rt. Rev. Dr. Jonathan H. Folts, Bishop