Lutheran Disaster Response

Our response to disasters in the U.S. and around the world; look for sections of this blog related to specific disaster locations. Comments are welcomed and moderated.

Introduction from New Lutheran Disaster Response Program Interpreter

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Megan Brandsrud


My name is Megan Brandsrud, and I am both excited and thankful to be the new Program Interpreter for Lutheran Disaster Response. As I begin my second week at the ELCA Churchwide office, I am grateful for all of the welcoming colleagues who continue to help me orient myself into this role.

Coincidentally, the flooding in Colorado occurred just before I started working in this role, so I had the opportunity to be a part of initial conversations and meetings between staff and affiliates in the impacted area. It was humbling and impressive to hear of the dedication and efforts being carried out by leaders in the areas affected by the flooding.

I look forward to sharing Lutheran Disaster Response’s powerful stories with you as we put God’s work into action and help those impacted overcome the effects of disaster.

Our New Look!

Posted on March 20, 2013 by Matthew Ley

Lutheran Disaster Response LogoThis past week some of you may have noticed a “slight” difference in the look of our disaster response communications/media. This is because ELCA Disaster Response has now been re-branded as Lutheran Disaster Response! Or another way of looking at it is that Lutheran Disaster Response will now designate both the ELCA’s disaster work in the U.S. and internationally.

Our main reason for this change was to lessen the confusion which has existed between these two labels/brands of our disaster work. It is also a way of strengthening the connections between our work internationally and in the U.S. Though our responses around the globe may all be local the way the ELCA engages them includes some strong similarities whether in the U.S. or internationally. Being able to highlight this joint understanding of our disaster response work is something we are very excited about.

So please join us in lifting up and celebrating this new, and historic, way of identifying our work. To learn more, check out the newly redesigned Lutheran Disaster Response portion of the ELCA website.

New Resource: Hurricane Sandy Situation Report #2

Posted on November 9, 2012 by Matthew Ley

A new situation report giving an update on the situation in the northeaster United States and Caribbean as well as the ELCA’s response is now available. Please help us spread the word of how the ELCA is engaged in the response and what people can do to help.

Here is a link for your convenience: Hurricane Sandy Situation Report #2 (November 9, 2012)

Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond domestically and internationally in times of need. Donate now.

New Resource: Updated Hurricane Sandy Bulletin Insert

Posted on November 7, 2012 by Matthew Ley

There is a new bulletin insert on the ELCA Disaster Response website sharing about our work and need following Hurricane Sandy. Please share it with your congregations.

Hurricane Sandy Bulletin Insert

Hurricane Sandy: Situation Report #1

Posted on November 2, 2012 by Matthew Ley

A new situation report highlighting the ELCA’s response to Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean and northeastern US is now available. Please help us share this update with your congregations and communities.

Hurricane Sandy Situation Report #1 (pdf)

Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond domestically and internationally in times of need. Donate now.

Joplin, MO: Field Report

Posted on August 4, 2012 by Pastor Michael Stadie

Pastor Kathy Redpath standing next to the previous site of Peace Lutheran Church.

This is Pastor Michael Stadie, Program Director for Lutheran Disaster Response with another field report.

Last week, I spent two days in Joplin, Missouri. Duane Moudy and Jim Eckrich from Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS) of Missouri were my hosts. While there are not many Lutherans in the Joplin area, Duane’s work in the community has raised the visibility of Lutheran Disaster Response a great deal; Duane is a key player in the Joplin Recovery efforts. Jim, a long time LDR Coordinator manages the Disaster Case Management Contract for LFCS. LFCS has subcontracted with several other agencies to provide these services.

Driving through the areas impacted by the May 2011 tornado, one can easily see Joplin is in full rebuilding mode. Many homes and businesses have been rebuilt; and there is a lot of construction work going on all over the impacted area. But interspersed among the completed homes are many empty lots and even whole blocks that have weeds growing up on them. Duane shared that most of these lots were rental homes where the landlord decided not to rebuild.

Drought: New Worship Resource

Posted on July 19, 2012 by Matthew Ley

As drought continues to affect many of the areas across the US and abroad, I share the following new resource from the ELCA worship unit. It includes a suggested litany, prayers, hymns and readings around the theme of drought.

You can download the resource here: Worship Resources – Drought

For resources during other times of natural disaster please see the ELCA Worship page.

LWF: *New* Emergency Response Newsletter

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Matthew Ley

The Lutheran World Federation has been working to revamp how it responds to disasters and emergencies within the countries and regions of the world in which it works. One of the first steps in the process has been to set up disaster “hubs” in 2012 in areas of the world that are disaster prone. The trial for this was carried out in Eastern Africa with the hope that through pre-positioned funds and resources the response to disasters could be swifter and more efficient, thus leading to more lives saved. This work was strongly supported by the ELCA. The two new hubs will be in Kathmandu, covering South and South-East Asia,and El Salvador and Haiti, covering Latin America and the Caribbean.

The LWF has also released a newsletter to help keep people up-to-date on this work. The first of these came out at the end of March and gives a quick overview of the program, the work in Eastern Africa, the two new hubs and a training conference that will happen in May in Nairobi, where the ELCA will be a participant.

This is an exciting new direction of work within our international disaster response and should be lifted up as often as possible. I highly recommend taking the time to familarize yourself to this work by reading the LWF Emergency Response Newsletter (March 2012).

Japan: One-Year Anniversary Litany

Posted on March 8, 2012 by Matthew Ley

The following litany was translated and shared by Rev. Franklin Ishida, Director for Asia – Pacific Continental Desk. They come from the National Council of Churches in Japan in commemoration of the One Year Anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

Prayers for the first year remembrance of the East Japan Great Disaster
L: Let us pray to God the Father, who accompanies us in our sorrows.
O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who met their tragic deaths.
C: Lord, hear our prayers

L: O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who grieve the loss of loved ones
C: Lord, hear our prayers

L: O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who have had to leave their homes, threatened by radiation.
C: Lord, hear our prayers

L: O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who are giving their hearts out to embrace survivors in their every need.
C: Lord, hear our prayer

L: Gracious Father, look upon us who cry out to you in pain and sadness. Help us to trust in your mercy from the depth of our hearts. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray.
C: Amen

National Council of Churches of Japan
Catholic Central Council

Midwest Tornadoes: Bulletin Insert

Posted on March 8, 2012 by Matthew Ley

At least 64 tornadoes touched down in 14 states last week leading to over 50 deaths, thousands of destroyed homes and displaced peoples. To help lift up the response we have created a bulletin insert for your use. Download it here.

You can also learn more at the ELCA Disaster Response page U.S. Severe Spring Storms and support the effort through donations page.

If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the Lutheran Disaster Response volunteer page.