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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Hurricane help

Recovery from Hurricane Isabel is all about faith and attitude in the Delaware-Maryland Synod, where folks have been heard saying: "There's always somebody worse off than we are."

One woman at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Baltimore, told a relief worker about losing her house. But she said she felt sorrier for her elderly neighbor who had 3-foot waves — not just water, but waves — in her living room.

Both St. Matthew and St. John Lutheran Church, Baltimore, distributed clothing. St. Matthew offered lunch and dinner; St. John distributed cleaning supplies, toiletries, baby items and nonperishable food.

The massive storm that struck Sept. 7-20 spanned 700 miles and is blamed for at least 27 deaths. In its aftermath, residents coped with electrical outages and flooding, affecting more than 6 million people.

In Virginia, Lutherans were among the thousands living without electricity and cranking up chainsaws to clean yards. Babs Benson, a nurse, and her husband, Scott, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Suffolk, opened their home to parishioners who drove half an hour to get a hot shower, do laundry and share a meal."We could not have given them a million dollars and made them any happier," Babs Benson said.

Members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Hampton, Va., helped the Red Cross deliver sanitation kits, insect repellent, diapers and other essentials. As many as 900 Gloria Dei families and its schoolchildren helped, said Doug Stowe, pastor.

Dean Freeburn, a member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Petersburg, Va., helped distribute 7,500 pounds of food to 600 people.

President Bush declared 26 North Carolina counties as federal disaster areas, but few Lutherans were affected.

At presstime, Lutheran Disaster Response was assessing needs. Send contributions ("Hurricane Isabel") to: ELCA Domestic Disaster Response PO Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1794; (800) 638-3522; www.elca.org/disaster.


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