Under the title “Praise on the Parking Lot,” Peace Lutheran Church of Joplin, MO included a special event with their regular worship service this morning. The congregation returned to their now empty lot at the corner of Wisconsin Ave. and 20th Street in Joplin. Friends and neighbors joined them under a tent that was erected on the former parking lot. It was on this same parking lot that the congregation held worship the Sunday following the tragic tornado which destroyed their church building, and much of Joplin, May 22, 2011. This service was an opportunity to remember, and lament, the past while continuing to focus on the future. As a sign of this focus the congregation hosted a picnic style lunch open to all who attended after the service.

This seeming simple, yet extremely powerful, act of worship and rememberance is truly the heart of ELCA Disaster Response. It is the church standing in the face and aftermath of disaster to proclaim that though we may be shaken by tragic acts of nature our faith holds us firm and sustains us. It is truly an act of the church continuing to be church in the midst of disaster.

Let us add our prayers of rememberance and thanksgiving to those of Peace. And this Tuesday, on the one-year anniversary of the tornado, let us again pray, that the commuinity of Peace and the people of Joplin know they and their situation are not forgotten.

ABOUT PEACE LUTHERAN: In the months since the tornado destroyed their building, the congregation of Peace Lutheran has been enjoying the welcoming hospitality of Bethany Presbyterian Church at Main and 20th which shares its office and worship space. Congregational workshops have been held in which values, beliefs and mission have been discussed and defined. A building committee is now actively engaged in the work of determining where Peace will build a new facility and what shape that facility will take. The goal is to take time now to discern where God is leading Peace for the future, for the sake of the Gospel.

Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond at home and globally in times of need. Donate now.