Bishop Michael Rinehart

How Can We Help?

How can we help?

This is the question I’ve been asked most. Thank you for asking. Here’s my stock response.

Pray. Give. Serve.

Pray

Pray for the families of the 60 people who lost their lives. Pray for the people who lived in the 182,000 homes that flooded, and the 9000 homes that were destroyed. Pray for all who had to evacuate and whose lives have been disrupted. Pray for the 40-50 congregations who had multiple members that flooded. Pray for the 20 congregations that have some kind of water damage. Pray for the four congregations where the flooding was particularly bad. And while you’re at it, pray for India, Nepal, and Bangladesh were flooding has taken 2000 lives. 

Pastor David Hansen adapted this prayer from ELW occassional services:

Loving God,

We trust in your mercy –  

we know that your love endures forever.

Look with mercy on all
who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

Give us your strength to meet the days ahead,
your peace, which surpasses all understanding,
and your hope for restoration and rebuilding.
Stir up those who are able to give aid,  

Let us be your hands and heart on earth,

help us show the world what love and joy look like.
Be with all who offer aid;

may your Spirit may uphold them.

As you have made water a sign of your kingdom,
and of cleansing and rebirth,

grant your people vision to see new life

on the other side of disaster.

To you be given all honor and praise,

through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

Amen!

Give

The situation changes daily. The needs change daily. Financial gifts are the most flexible. 

People ask, “Should we give to Lutheran Disaster Response or the the Gulf Coast Synod? It depends upon what you want your money to do. LDR.org does case management among the most needy, usually through Upbring. They serve low-income families with no insurance. This is holy work. 

Congregations are not LDR’s primary work. But they are ours as a synod. Gifts to the Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Response help congregations and their leaders to recover and serve their neighborhoods. Our only to reach neighborhoods is through our congregations. We help congregations so they can give to their community. 

You can give it to Gulf Coast Synod disaster response at this website, or by sending a check to:

Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Response

12941 I-45 North Freeway, Suite #210

Houston, Texas 77060-1243

Serve

There will be volunteer opportunities for sometime to come, but now is critical. Mold will settle in soon. Later reconstruction will require professional contractors. Cleaning out houses (mucking) is something unskilled volunteers can do. We have a coordinated workday on September 9, launching from five sites. Many groups will be going out before and after that.

For many in the U.S. the distance makes it impractical. But if you can get here, and if you can find a place to stay, there is work to be done. Hotels are filled with those who have lost homes, and will be for some time to come. Here are some possibilities to consider:

1. Our camp, Lutherhill, in LaGrange has room. You can call them at (888) 266-4613 or visit Lutherhill.org. There is a lot of work to do in LaGrange, Texas. 

2. Our retreat center, Zion, on Galveston Island, is close to the flooding in Dickinson Texas.  (888) 266-4613 or visit Lutherhill.org.

3. Tree of Life Lutheran Church in Conroe Texas can sleep up to 40 people on cots and mattresses. (936) 539-9530 or treechurch.net