The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


ELCA pastor heads interfaith housing match for 20,000

Tom Minor was a lieutenant colonel and chief of the Chaplaincy Office of the Air National Guard in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. He spent that day and many thereafter ministering to the families of those killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the ELCA pastor, now director of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Response for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, was once again at the center of a disaster.

Tom Minor, an ELCA pastor, checks a
Tom Minor, an ELCA pastor, checks a Houston map marked with congregations participating in the relief effort.
Houston Mayor Bill White assigned Interfaith Ministries, comprised of all faith groups in the city, to lead his Neighbors2Neighbors program. Interfaith Ministries matched 20,000 evacuees with people in their new communities in Houston—somebody to be a neighbor and help them find their way around. Minor was confident there would be plenty of volunteers for Neighbors2Neighbors.

Even before that program was fully launched, Interfaith Ministries had rallied 35,000 volunteers from all faiths in Houston. That included Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Jews, many of whom put aside their sectarian differences to come together in this mammoth labor of love.

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