ELCA NEWS SERVICE
May 23, 2011
Lutheran Disaster Response sends $25,000 grant to Missouri tornado response
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Lutheran Disaster Response sent a $25,000 emergency grant to its partner agency, Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri, for response to the May 22 tornado that struck in Joplin, Mo. Parts of Joplin were destroyed, including the building for Peace Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
At least 116 people died in Joplin, and hundreds were being treated for injuries. Missouri's governor said about 30 percent of the city was damaged or destroyed.
"The church (building) is demolished," said the Rev. William R. Pape, interim pastor, Peace Lutheran Church. Pape, who lives in Kansas City, Mo., was in Joplin when the storm hit. Peace Lutheran Church's sanctuary, offices, classrooms and a gathering room were destroyed, he said. In addition, houses and other buildings in the immediate vicinity of Peace Lutheran Church were flattened, and a high school next to Peace was severely damaged.
Because of communication difficulties, Pape said he had heard from only a few members. He said he knew of two members whose homes, across the street from Peace's building, were demolished by the storm.
The area where the tornado struck in Joplin was closed by law enforcement authorities. Pape said it was too early to say where the congregation will worship next week.
The Rev. Gerald L. Mansholt, bishop of the ELCA Central States Synod, Kansas City, invited members to pray for the people of Joplin and all others affected by tornados this past weekend.
"We are seeing the horrific images of destruction and hearing the stories of incredible loss," he wrote in a message to the synod.
Meanwhile, emergency response resources in Missouri are stretched "thin," said Jim Eckrich, director of school services and disaster response, Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri, St. Louis. With yesterday's tornado, he said responders to spring storms are now working in at least three areas in Missouri: Joplin; parts of St. Louis, including the airport area, where an April 22 tornado hit; and southeast Missouri, where there was significant flooding along the Mississippi River.
Lutheran Disaster Response is a collaborative ministry of the ELCA and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Gifts to ELCA Domestic Disaster Response will be used entirely to respond to the series of spring storms, including tornados and floods. Gifts may be contributed at http://www.ELCA.org/disaster/storms on the ELCA website. Gifts may also be contributed by calling 800-638-3522, or by mail to ELCA Disaster Response, 39330 Treasury Center, Chicago, IL 60694-9300. Please write "U.S. Severe Storms" on your check's memo line.
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with approximately 4.5 million members in more than 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
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