By Kim Plummer Krull
As he prepared to travel to the East Coast on Wednesday (Oct. 31) to help LCMS districts and congregations reach out in communities battered by Superstorm Sandy, LCMS Director of Disaster Response Rev. Glenn F. Merritt suggested resources for Lutherans wanting to get the ball rolling on relief efforts.
Those resources include “Mercy in Action: Preparing Congregations for Disaster Response,” the LCMS Disaster Response manual with the nuts and bolts of how a congregation can most effectively care for a hurting community, as well as a downloadable bulletin insert and prayers congregations can use at worship services in Sandy’s wake.
On Tuesday (Oct. 30), LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison recorded a video message, sharing early reports from LCMS district presidents and disaster-response coordinators on the East Coast.
“The needs are going to come fast and furious, and your help is certainly going to be needed,” Harrison said in the video. (Watch the video at http://video.lcms.org/archives/1483.)
The LCMS president asked for prayers and financial support to help people whose lives have been turned upside down. “Your gift will not only help today but it’s going to help in the long haul,” Harrison said, urging those beyond affected areas to share their blessings with Sandy survivors at www.lcms.org/givenow/disaster.
Following is a variety of resources congregations may find useful during what is expected to be a long recovery period. The online resources as well as disaster response updates can be accessed at www.lcms.org/disaster.
Congregational disaster response
- Downloadable LCMS Disaster Response leaders manual for “Mercy in Action: Preparing Congregations for Disaster Response,” the foundation for training disaster responders, including guidelines on forming a Lutheran Early Response Team program.
- Survival kit project, an outreach tool for congregations and LWML groups that stock emergency basics for families as part of a disaster-preparedness plan.
- LCMS Disaster Response grants to help congregations meet physical and spiritual needs in hard-hit communities. To learn more, contact Tracy Quaethem, administrative assistant for Disaster Response, LCMS Office of National Mission, at 800-248-1930, Ext. 1711, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Downloadable worship resources, including a bulletin insert with information about how LCMS members can help meet needs in affected communities and prayers congregations can offer for Sandy survivors and first responders.
In addition, Merritt recommends two FEMA websites with helpful information about government disaster response assistance: http://www.ready.gov/ and http://www.fema.gov/plan.
Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) offers emergency funding and redesign, repair and construction assistance which is not limited to current LCEF borrowers or service customers. In that program, LCEF national and district staffs are prepared to work with LCMS organizations and rostered church workers in natural-disaster areas (as determined by local, state or federal officials) that may need assistance.
Loan funding is available for qualified new loans at zero-percent interest with no payments required for the first 12 months of the term, according to an LCEF news release.
For more information, call LCEF at 800-843-5233 or visit www.lcef.org.
The day after Sandy struck, Ronald S. Drews, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of New York, requested prayers and financial support in response to what he called “this storm of historic proportions.”
The superstorm has “displaced thousands from their homes, is related to more than two dozen deaths and has left 6 million persons without power,” Drews said in an email message on Monday (Oct. 30).
Drews, who heads the New York City-based social ministry organization, encouraged donations to disaster-relief efforts of both the LCMS www.lcms.org and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America www.elca.org.
“Together, in partnership with our respective church bodies and congregations and community organizations, we can bring relief, hope and healing to those who are suffering from the aftermath of this unprecedented natural disaster,” Drews said.
Giving opportunities through LCMS Disaster Response to help those affected by the historic storm include:
- making an online gift at www.lcms.org/givenow/disaster.
- mailing checks payable to “The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod” (with a memo line or note designating “LCMS Disaster Relief “) to The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
- calling toll-free 888-930-4438.
Along with Reporter Online, continuing updates about the Synod’s response to Sandy will be posted on the LCMS website at www.lcms.org, Twitter (www.twitter.com/thelcms), the LCMS Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thelcms) and the Mercy Forever blog (http://mercyforever.lcms.org).
Kim Plummer Krull is a freelance writer and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.
Posted Oct. 31, 2012