The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) issued the following letter on Sept. 2, 2005:
Letter from Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson on the Devastation of Hurricane Katrina
I write to you from Bethlehem where I am meeting with leaders of the Lutheran World Federation. We are following the tragic impact of Hurricane Katrina throughout the Gulf Coast of the United States. We are praying for those who are suffering, as they struggle for the most basic of life's necessities. I remember the generous outpouring of support from Lutherans throughout the world for the victims of the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia, and pray that we will be as generous in our response to this current disaster.
The process of recovery for Hurricane Katrina will be long and difficult. I am profoundly grateful that we are part of a church with networks of outreach and support to care for those in desperate need. Our giving to ELCA Domestic Disaster Response provides immediate relief and assistance to survivors for as long as it is needed. ELCA staff have been in ongoing conversation with leaders of rescue efforts, in an effort to coordinate the resettlement of those refugees left homeless in Katrina's wake. I encourage each of us to give generously to these efforts, as we live out the gospel by providing financial assistance, volunteer time, and the ministry of presence.
As we hear the heartbreaking stories of people who are suffering and dying from this disaster, we are reminded of refugees throughout the world. Please pray for all who struggle and suffer from the injustices of hunger, homelessness, and despair. I ask you to join me in renewing our commitment as Lutherans to be present wherever there is suffering, to bring healing and hope in Jesus' name.
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America President, Lutheran World Federation
P. S. You may contribute to the ELCA Domestic Disaster Response through your congregation or synod office, or directly by mail (checks payable to "ELCA Domestic Disaster Response") to P.O. Box #71764, Chicago, Illinois 60694-1764 (note "Hurricane Katrina relief" on the memo line) or with a credit card by phone (800-638- 3522) or online (http://www.ELCA.org/giving). Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has announced a generous gift supplement program for individual Thrivent members giving to Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery. If you are a member of Thrivent Financial, please visit http://www.thrivent.com/fraternal/katrina.html for more information and an important form that is required for the supplement. We are grateful for Thrivent's partnership in our ELCA Domestic Disaster Response ministry! -- -- -- The letter is available at
http://www.ELCA.org/bishop/m_050902.html on the ELCA Web site.
For more information contact: John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com://www.elca.org/news