The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Hurricanes: How one synod responds

“New Orleans is going to be a different community, and we need to find new ways of doing ministry that are effective,” said Robert W. Moore, assistant to the bishop/mission director, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. “We are trying to look at the future—what God is calling us to do out of this hurricane.”

In response to the population shift in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, the synod developed four leadership positions to serve the area: a youth and family minister, headquartered at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Kenner, La.; a children’s minister at Hosanna, Mandeville, La.; an evangelism minister at Love in New Orleans’ West Bank neighborhood; and a pastor trained in transformational ministry to serve Galilean, La Place, La.

Moore said the synod supports hurricane-affected congregations by:

• Providing financial support. “So many pastors were called to do such difficult and traumatic ministry with people who have gone through such a horrible experience, but these pastors no longer had compensation,” he said. “The first thing we did was support pastors and rostered leaders financially so they could continue to meet, work and do ministry among the people.”

• Connecting people to counselors, psychologists and other mental health professionals through the synod and Lutheran Disaster Response. The synod also is planning a weeklong summer retreat for leaders.

• Working with LDR and social ministry organizations in obtaining hardship grants for hurricane-damaged congregations and those that have undergone wear-and-tear as relief sites.

Moore said several congregations are now rebuilding, but most are still in a “holding pattern” because of logistics related to permits and insurance claims. Damage to congregations ranges from minor to major, with “very little in between,” he added. Some congregations have lost half or more of their membership.


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February issue


Embracing diversity