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Reprinted with permission by Catholic Sentinel

Our Milwaukie, OR parish is highlighted in the article for its efforts.

by Kristen Hannum

This is the third and final part of a series on how parishes in the Archdiocese of Portland can prepare for “the big one,” the subduction zone earthquake off the coast that scientists say is overdue.

Catholics in the Archdiocese of Portland experienced a mild preview of what an earthquake feels like 23 years ago, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake jolted the Mount Angel area in March 1993.

St. Mary Church, one of the archdiocese’s architectural and artistic gems, was damaged more than was first thought. None of the windows had imploded, and the statues and altar were mostly unscathed, and yet the shaking had damaged the building to such an extent that  it needed extensive shoring up.

Another earthquake rumbled through southern Oregon six months later, in September 1993, with the Klamath Falls earthquake.

While those earthquakes were memorable for those who lived through them, comparing them to the subduction quake that experts are warning Oregonians about is like comparing the danger of a kitten (watch her claws!) to that of a hungry lion.

Once the inevitability of tsunamis are added to the mix, Sheryl Getery of Coos Bay says it’s important for parishes to do what they can to get people thinking about their own disaster plans.

Elizabeth Lien, a parish nurse for the (Orthodox) Church of the Annunciation in Milwaukie, prepared an article for the national Orthodox Churches of America about parish emergency preparedness.

Her parish established an emergency preparedness team in 2009 in preparation for a potential H1N1 influenza epidemic.

The team educated other parishioners and, after the scare had passed, decided they could help their parish and community in case of another emergency.

The American Red Cross and Clackamas County’s Department of Emergency Management helped her group, giving suggestions on what was most important.

The county suggested they work with the program, “Map Your Neighborhood,” which helps people think about how their church will be a neighbor after a disaster.

Lien writes: “Regardless of the amount of energy a parish has to put towards emergency preparedness, it is essential that parish councils have an idea of how their church might respond should a disaster occur. Clergy will be called upon to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of a community in crisis. Working with local organizations that promote disaster preparedness, any church can ready itself to meet the needs of its community in the event of a catastrophic event. Times of crisis present opportunities to witness to the Gospel we hold dear and bring others into the comfort and safety of the Church.”

See original article here.

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