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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A shepherd searches

Seeking after his own from Bethlehem

I’ve been filled with many different emotions since Katrina as day-by-day I seek to discover the whereabouts of the more than 100 members of Bethlehem Lutheran, the only African American ELCA congregation in Louisiana—and multiple hundreds more from the area surrounding it in New Orleans—and minister to them.

The Saturday prior to the hurricane, I was at the church with contractors who were working on the outside of our facility. The place was starting to gleam, and we had just been featured in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Every hour my wife, Catherine, called to give me updates on Katrina and the announcement to evacuate. But I was making arrangements for a dumpster to be dropped so inside remodeling work could begin Monday. The sanctuary had not been painted in 15 years, and the bathrooms weren’t accessible to disabled people.

At 2 p.m. Cathy called again: “Are you planning on staying? Because the kids and I are leaving.” The kids are grandchildren we are raising, Anthony, 6, and Falon, 5.


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November issue

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