A series of tornadoes devastated several central states, including eastern Arkansas, southern Illinois and central Kentucky.
Don Brewer, pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Fort Smith, Ark., said a tornado touched down in the business district and along the river. "[The tornado] then jumped over the river and hit several nice homes, some costing as much as $250,000," Brewer said. "Then it moved out and hit about 300 middle-income homes."
St. Luke, the town's only Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation, suffered no loss of life, but 15 members had homes that were destroyed.
Brewer is meeting with three Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastors weekly, checking on each congregation's needs. A group therapy program with a Lutheran Social Services speaker is scheduled to help children and adults deal with the post-event trauma they may be suffering.
In the Richmond, Ky., area there were no fatalities, but 13 homes were destroyed in nearby Berea. Andy Rutrough, pastor of Richmond's St. Thomas Lutheran Church, said severa l members live in Berea, but none lost homes. Volunteers from St. Thomas helped clean up the debris at a retirement facility.
Two tornadoes also struck in and near Decatur, Ill., leaving many homes damaged. Lutheran Disaster Response effort s are being managed by Lutheran Children and Family Service of Illinois and an initial grant was provided.
Lutheran Disaster Response is also responding to May flooding in Perryville and Barnhart, Mo., and to ongoing fires in New Mexico.
© 2015 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers