ELCA NEWS SERVICE
March 17, 2010
Lutherans In Fargo, Moorhead and Surrounding Areas Brace for Floodwater
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- As the Red River in Fargo, N.D., Moorhead, Minn., and surrounding areas reached flood levels March 17, Lutherans in the area were working furiously to save their homes and communities.
According to CNN, floodwaters are forecast to peak at 38 feet this weekend. In 2009 the Red River crested at a record 40.8 feet in Fargo-Moorhead.
In a March 17 interview with the News Service of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Rev. Jeffrey L. Sandgren, pastor of Olivet Lutheran Church, Fargo, said, "It feels like the calm before the storm." He said although the river has been rising rapidly in the past couple of days, people have a little time to prepare. Olivet is a congregation of the ELCA.
"People are working hard, and there's an overwhelming feeling. Some folks have barely recovered from last year's flooding," said Sandgren.
But "there's a sense of spirit in saving the community," he said. Students from local high schools and two major universities are helping to sandbag. "Because of the youth of the city, we were been able to fight the flood last year. It is hard work, and they rally around it," said Sandgren.
Members of Olivet have opened their church building to the community offering a place to rest, a hot meal and coffee, said Sandgren. The congregation calls this effort the "The Ark," which is free and open to the public daily until floodwaters recede.
Olivet is housing members of the National Guard, who stand ready to engage in rapid-response efforts to help people caught in floodwater, said Sandgren. The congregation is also working to "keep track of folks."
Sandgren said the church building is not at risk, since it stands on a higher part of Fargo. "But that's not saying much, because the land is as flat as a pancake."
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Information about Olivet Lutheran Church is at http://www.olivet.org on the Web.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com