August 28, 2017
Dear friends in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus.
Many of you have likely been following the images and stories coming to us from Houston and the surrounding areas as the rains from Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey hit historic levels. Even as I reach out to those in my network more directly impacted, I am sensitive to all those who may be waiting to hear about friends and family. First of all, know that my prayers and the prayers of the synod staff continue to be with you and with all who are impacted by this disaster.
As the reports of devastation and destruction continue, there is often a strong impulse to respond through action. I encourage you to pay attention to this impulse, as it is one way the Spirit draws us together with our brothers and sisters in Christ and with all those in need. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Bishop Michael Rinehart, bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, and his staff will continue to communicate about what kind of help is needed. At this time, financial donations to relief and rescue agencies are the most helpful. With financial support, relief and rescue agencies can more confidently navigate the on-the-ground realities.
Lutheran Disaster Response, the ELCA’s coordinated disaster response agency, has a long history of faithfully responding to disasters and staying involved through every phase of response, recovery, and rebuilding. LDR works with local partners to ensure ongoing and quality support is provided over the long-term. 100% of donations to LDR designated for “Hurricane Response—United States” will be used for disaster response.
Lutheran Disaster Response has provided a bulletin insert to be shared in your congregations. Please consider including this bulletin insert and inviting your community’s response and support. We are Church Together, and this synod knows both the devastation a hurricane can cause and the value of support from others during times of disaster. You can access that bulletin insert here.
For some who have lived through a hurricane (or several), the stories and images coming from Texas may trigger memories and emotions of your own experience of storms. Be patient and gracious with one another, creating space for healing and prayer through deep listening and conversation. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to talk to someone.
While the impulse to respond is now, I encourage all of us to continue to pay attention to the long-term needs and opportunities for care and support.
As we continue to stand with one another through all the storms of life, we take strength and courage from the God who is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Together with you in Christ,