Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
As Florida now braces for the full brunt of Hurricane Matthew, I am reminded of this wisdom from Psalm 107: 28-31
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,and he brought them out from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
Even in the midst of the storm, we are all in God’s hands and need to hold each other in prayer over these next days.
I want to you know that the Office of the Bishop is on standby as we communicate and coordinate with our synod-wide and interfaith partners in Florida this morning, and throughout the weekend, to begin disaster response efforts once Hurricane Matthew has left the state and damage has been assessed.
What can you and your congregation do right now?
Donate now – money will be needed to help with recovery efforts of shelter, food, water. The Synod Online Donation page has an “other” line where you can specify Hurricane Matthew. Please give generously! You may also send a check made out to Florida-Bahamas Synod (Hurricane Matthew in memo line) to 3838 West Cypress St. Tampa, FL 33607.
100% of your donations go to work on the ground. It is your Mission Support to the Florida-Bahamas Synod that provides for the administration costs.
For those on the East Side of Florida, please let the Synod Office know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (813-876-7660) if you have:
- Room at your congregation for staging
- Room for shelter
- The ability of your congregation to host work crews
- Ability to prepare and/or distribute food and water
For those of you on the West Side of Florida, please let the synod office know via email or phone if you have:
- Work crews available to help clear debris
- Crews available that can help distribute food and water
This is certainly an opportunity to do God’s work with our hands.
Let us pray: O God, who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the troubled heart, bring hope and courage to all who are affected by this storm as we wait in uncertainty. Bring assurance that you will be with us in whatever lies ahead. Give us courage to endure all that we now face, for you are our refuge and strength. You are God, and we need you. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen (adapted from ELW Pastoral care, page 174)
Peace be yours,
+Bishop Robert G. Schaefer,
Florida Bahamas Synod