Thanks from Florida
On behalf of Grace Lutheran Church, Pensacola, Fla., and Circuit 10 of the Southern District, I would like to thank all who have responded and will respond to the needs of fellow Lutherans in the Florida panhandle.
For years, I have taken offerings in response to earthquakes, fires, floods, and hurricanes. Pastors get an e-mail about a need, then place an announcement in the bulletin, add the need to the prayer list, write out a check, and consider that you have done your duty. Have I had a rude awakening! That is why I truly thank all who have responded, not only with gifts and prayers, but also and especially in person.
It is very hard to describe the massive damage to homes, business, trees, and lives. There is nothing that can prepare you for this. One member said, “As I ran down the street chasing the Red Cross lunch wagon, yelling, ‘Stop here, stop here,’ and saw my little children also running after me, I thought, ‘This is just like a third-world nation.'”
Eight weeks after Hurricane Ivan, we had just received a temporary phone line at church. We are worshipping in an Episcopal sanctuary, conducting our pre-school in their Sunday-school rooms, using a public school to host our mid-week program, and all other ministries have been delegated to individual member homes. Our staff of eight is crammed into a 30-by-60 room, and progress on clean up is painfully slow due to a shortage of roofing contractors and skilled workers and to the permit process. We estimate it will be two years before a new sanctuary can be built. The story is the same at Trinity, Cantonment, which is worshipping in a funeral home, and at Redeemer, Pensacola, which moved its school to Immanuel, Pensacola, after it was inundated by a tidal surge.
That is the dark side and why we are so thankful for all the help we have received. It lightens our spirits considerably to know that folks outside the disaster area care. The spirits of all the congregations in the affected area remain high. We are daily reminded that the church is not buildings but people. Spiritual blessings abound, and relationships are strengthened.
Rev. Stephen S. Linck
In regard to your October article about the KFUO Radio ministry — “Board of Directors to continue managing radio stations on ‘interim basis'” — I was disappointed that no one from KFUO was contacted.
The ministries of KFUO Radio are two of the most treasured assets of the Synod, with the AM station beginning in 1924 (making it the oldest Christian radio station in the world), and the FM band launched in 1948.
The article implies some sinister plot regarding management of the station, and that KFUO is a cash drain on the Synod. I would like to reassure our Synod that the KFUO Radio Committee is working diligently with the LCMS Foundation and others to resolve current funding shortfalls and to keep KFUO on the air for many years to come.
The KFUO Radio Committee is preparing a comprehensive study of KFUO and its ministry. We are certain this study will aid the Board of Directors, the Board for Communication Services, and ourselves in developing a strategic plan to grow the Synod’s radio ministry and keep this valuable ministry asset a part of our family for generations to come.
Rev. John L. Bush
Bush is chairman of the KFUO Radio Committee. — Ed.
Concerned about youth
I thought it was a sad day when 20 to 35 percent of our children incorrectly answered poll questions about our basic doctrines and faith (“Dittmer: 2004 ‘Youth Poll’ offers no surprises,” December ’04).
While it should not amaze me anymore that we have people in our church who either do not know our doctrine and faith or simply do not accept it, it is always disconcerting to read about them. And upsets me that we are not getting across to about one-third of our kids the correct biblical and doctrinal views of our church. More than that, these kids supposedly have gone through confirmation, which either was taught wrong, or they simply didn’t accept and believe what was taught them. If the latter, how could they be confirmed?
So as not to end on a sour note, I commend the parents who have instilled in their kids the correct concepts of our faith and church. I applaud the effort and faith of these kids and pray for them all, even and especially for the ones who did not answer the questions correctly.
Salt Lake City, Utah
“Letters” may be sent via e-mail to REPORTER@lcms.org or by mail to REPORTER Letters, 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295. Please include your name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.
Posted Dec. 27, 2004