Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell in Puerto Rico

December 28, 2021

Puerto Rico Day 1: Arrived in San Juan!


One of my favorite things about being Presbyterian is being a part of a connectional church. It is this structure that brings together clergy and lay leaders from across the country to serve as the Advisory Committee for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), the emergency and refugee program of the PCUSA. 


Today, the Advisory Committee and PDA staff have all arrived in San Juan where we will hold our bi-annual meeting, but more importantly, we are here to be present to congregations and residents impacted by Hurricane Maria this past September. Hurricane Maria is widely considered the worst recorded natural disaster for Puerto Rico. 


On my flight to San Juan, I sat next to a man from Dallas who has been working in PR since October, assisting in water management and mold remediation. He warned me to expect power outages and, in his own opinion, he expected recovery to take several years. 


Last month, about 50 folks from across Grace Presbytery gathered at PHPC to learn more about PDA, and there was interest in knowing when work teams would be able to serve in PR. Before we can get to the “Recovery” phase, PR continues to be in the “Response” phase of disaster management.


PDA has published a helpful guide to explain the difference between the Response and Recovery phases, as well as a contact list for potential host sites and work partners for those who are eager to participate in Response efforts in PR. You can find this guide by clicking this link:

Tomorrow we will visit with representatives from San Juan Presbytery and Northwest Presbytery. My prayer is for the time spent with faith leaders and residents be a source of connection and healing. I hope you will join me in praying for all those who remain without important needs, such as running water, and for all those who are working hard to bring restoration and hope. 


I hope to continue with daily updates as I’m able to, so please check back in with our PHPC blog!


Grace and peace,


Rev. Kathy

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