The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



September 1, 2006

'Life still tough for Katrina survivors'

That’s the gist of results from a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday that followed up with 602 residents that had been interviewed a year ago—people who’d applied for Red Cross aid—as the horror of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation was becoming painfully evident. Life is “back to normal,” for only one in six of the people. Nearly half said they’d taken a major financial hit, with some having lost everything. Nearly half have had to move at least once, and more than a third have moved twice or more.

Most of us still know about these hard facts of life only from the stories we read and the photos we see. But as members of the ELCA, we’ve “been there” through the 15,000 of our fellow members who went down to volunteer and spent more than 500,000 hours hard at it. We’ve “been there” as our contributions, some $25 million so far to ELCA Domestic Disaster Response and Lutheran Disaster Response, offered immediate help to survivors like the people polled and will be available to communities as they work to build up again. To keep your congregation up-to-date on the ongoing needs, check the Disaster Response site. You’ll see how much there is still to do, maybe even by you.

There also are Voices of Faith in the Midst of the Storm coming from people of the ELCA—specifically from pastors and faith leaders serving congregations in south Louisiana. Their various reflections, journal entries and sermons have been compiled by the Rev. John McCullough Bade of Baton Rouge. In the introduction, he writes:

“I invite you to listen to the voices of those who have been forever changed by Katrina, ‘a storm of biblical proportions.’ Hear their journey of faith and doubt, of despair and hope. Listen to their experiences of exodus, flood, lament, exile, and return. Tune your ear to their cries and their loss. Let their words bear witness to the God who is with them–and with each of us–in the storms of life.

"And by God’s grace, join your voice and your hands with them, so that together, we might all one day see a day of restoration and new beginnings.”

The book costs $10, with proceeds going to hurricane long-term recovery ministries.


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