In early October, many of us watched as Hurricane Matthew devastated the Caribbean and powered its way towards the U.S. Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas braced themselves as Matthew moved in their direction.

After the hurricane dispelled and rivers receded, thousands of people, still reeling from the impact, were left with the work of putting their lives back together. Even now, across all affected U.S. states and internationally, people are still in the early stages of relief: living in hotels, mucking out homes, etc.

Lutheran Disaster Response, in partnership with its affiliate social ministry organizations, local synods and congregations, are present on the ground working in these communities.

In Georgia, 10 Lutheran Congregations in the Savannah area (listed below) heard about a community that had been severely affected by the hurricane. Pastor Jim Nelson of Holy Spirit Lutheran in Savannah, GA said, “We came together and discussed what we could do, as Lutherans, to help this community.”

“We’re in it for the long haul. Whatever we do, we’ll do it together.” Tweet: “We’re in it for the long haul. Whatever we do, we’ll do it together.”

The community, located on the west side of Savannah, already faced many poverty-related challenges.  About 100 households of the apartment complex were impacted by the flooding. Some residents evacuated at the news of the Hurricane and found their belongings completely ruined when they returned. Others stayed in their homes and watched as the flood waters entered their homes; they saved what they could from the flood waters but not much was left.hurricanematthewGA_1

On October 29th, in coordination with the County Commissioner and the local Red Cross, members of these congregations arrived at the apartment complex to provide a Day of Rest; A break from the everyday burden of mucking out homes, to have a meal and fellowship. They brought food, clothes, flood buckets, and an inflatable bounce house for the children.

After a day of food, fun and conversation, a new relationship had been built between the congregations and the community.“We’re in it for the long haul,” Pastor Jim said. “Whatever we do, we’ll do it together.”

A Lutheran Disaster Response coordinator once said, “There are times when we are the only Bible disaster survivors see.” They went on to say, “we simply try to be the hands and feet of God, giving witness to the life giving love of Christ.” Our affiliated SMOs, synods, and congregations like the 10 in Savannah, are important to the ministry of Lutheran Disaster Response because, we are all the church, responding to disasters in the name of Christ, for the sake of our beloved community. We are thankful for their presence now and in the time to come.

Lutheran Disaster Response will continue to accompany congregations, synods, trusted partners and companion churches  that know the communities well and will walk with people on the road to recovery.


Be a part of the response:


Continue to pray for the people who have been affected by Hurricane Matthew. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.


We still need your help. Gifts to “Hurricane Matthew” will be used to assist those affected by the hurricane until the response is complete.


Stay connected to the latest events and our response to this and other disasters:

  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook and follow @ELCALDR onTwitter.
  • Share this bulletin insert with your congregation.
  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.


Participating Congregations 

Ascension Lutheran Church

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Garden City, GA)

Holy Spirit Lutheran Church

Jerusalem Lutheran Church (Rincon, GA)

Lord of Life (St. Simon’s Island)

Messiah Lutheran Church

Redeemer Lutheran Church

St. James Lutheran Church (Brunswick, GA)

St. John Lutheran Church(Rincon, GA)

St. Paul Lutheran Church