Monday, May 03, 2010

Southern U.S. Hit Hard: How You Can Help

The Southeastern Synod of the ELCA sent out an email alert this afternoon regarding the recent trio of disasters to hit in the past few days. From the ongoing oil spill along the Gulf Coast, to tornados in Mississippi last weekend, to the current flooding situation in Tennessee, especially in Nashville, the South is being hit hard. But Lutheran Disaster Relief is there. Here is information on how to contribute to LDR, as well as the other information contained in this news release. Please keep all those affected by these events in your prayers, and give of your treasure if you are able. Because of my own connection to this area, growing up in Tennessee and with many friends and family members still in this region, I plan to be doing both for some time to come.

Southeastern Synod Disaster News

Photo by John Partipilo (The Tennesean) View from above looking out over First Avenue in downtown Nashville, TN as flood waters continue to rise on Monday morning, May 3, 2010.
Nashville flood

On Saturday and Sunday, May 1 - 2, middle and west Tennessee areas were inundated with water, 10-15 inches of rain in two days. Interstates 24 and 40 were underwater at places both east and west of the city; Opryland Convention Center and the Second Ave area in downtown Nashville were flooded as the Cumberland River escaped its banks. The Bellevue area in West Nashville was particularly hard hit with many people evacuated from their homes in boats.

Area Lutheran churches are all secure but most received some minor water damage. Many church members had to be evacuated from their homes. Holy Trinity is in the Bellevue area. Pastor Gretchen Person was unable to get there yesterday and we have no word yet today. Further west at Rauwood, a Middle Tennessee Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center, major damage was suffered with their log cabin washed away and much damage to other structures.

For up to the minute news, go to or

Donations may be sent to the Synod Office or to Lutheran Services of Tennessee.

ELCA-Southeastern Synod
100 Edgewood Ave., Suite 1600
Atlanta, GA 30303
note "Tennessee Flood" on memo line

Lutheran Services in Tennessee
P.O. Box, 60597,
Nashville, TN, 37206-0597.

Tornadoes in Mississippi
The path of destruction left by severe storms in the southern United States begins in Yazoo City, MS, where a massive tornado touched down last week and traveled for more than 100 miles. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or heavily damaged, and at least 12 people were killed. Affected communities are now beginning the process of recovery, and Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi (LESM) and Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) are both playing vital roles in that work.

Sandra Braasch, Lutheran Disaster Response coordinator with Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi, serves as president of the Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), and in that role, she works closely with partners in various faith-based, secular and governmental disaster response organizations.
In coordination with local emergency response personnel, LESM has been involved in assesments on the ground and debris removal, and is currently working to help set up an on-site volunteer camp.

Lutheran Disaster Response has issued an emergency grant of $10,000 to Lutheran Episcopal Services for use in these early days of response. Additional funding, and non-financial resources, may be available as the full scale of need becomes more clear. A press release from the ELCA News Service, which details this grant and shares additional information about the unfolding response in Mississippi, can be found

For information on how to make a gift to support the recovery efforts click here

Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

As oil from the sunken Deepwater Horizon platform continues to spread across the Gulf of Mexico, we lift up in prayer those whose communities and livelihoods may be impacted. Volunteers are needed to help with oil cleanup should it come ashore, but those volunteers need to be trained. Interested persons should go, to find a link to sign up for training.

Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi (LESM) has offered 2 camps in the area--Mission on the Bay, Bay St. Louis, MS, and Camp Victor, Ocean Springs, MS--as locations to house and train volunteers. More information will be forthcoming.

For the latest information on the containment of the oil spill, visit the Deepwater Horizion Incident Unified Command Website, .

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