Visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at www.ELCA.org
HURRICANE SANDY FEMA UPDATE:
FEMA has opened a disaster recovery center to assist residents impacted from Hurricane Sandy. One of the centers is located at the Somerset County Human Services Building at 27 Warren St. in Somerville and will be open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 8 pm. Residents can also apply for assistance by calling 800-621-3362 or by visiting www.DisasterAssistance.gov. FEMA has also opened a Disaster Recovery Center in Hunterdon County located at 77 Park Ave. in Flemington. The center is open daily from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Residents may also use the 800 number or website above. For those with speech or hearing problems, please call 800-462-7585.
Office of the Bishop
November 1, 2012 Festival of All Saints
TO: The New Jersey Synod, ELCA
RE: Hurricane Response Update
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As electric power begins to return, we have become more able to assess the damage from the storm. To this point we believe all of our rostered leaders are safe, although there are some whom we are still trying to reach, most serving on the barrier islands. Pastors and lay leaders have been trying to reach members of congregations, especially the most vulnerable, to make sure they are safe and to learn what they need. This is our immediate life and ministry together.
The devastation on the barrier islands, as you know, is massive. Because people have not been able to return to places like Long Beach Island, we cannot be certain about the condition of church properties. (We are presuming that leaders and members heeded the mandatory evacuation order and are safe.) Churches in Lavalette, Brant Beach, and Barnegat Light probably have suffered the most damage. We have yet to hear from Cape May and Wildwood and Asbury Park. Ocean City, Stone Harbor, and Somers Point are okay. But in all Shore communities, from Cape May to Sandy Hook, and inland for many miles, as you are well aware, people are dealing with very serious challenges.
Hoboken is trying to cope with catastrophic flooding. St. Matthew-Trinity is one of the few places with lights and heat. As a result, when one of the city shelters flooded early in the storm, St. Matthew-Trinity became a shelter for forty persons. I suspect there are similar stories in other communities.
LUTHERAN DISASTER RESPONSE
- LSMNJ is the point agency for Lutheran Disaster Response in New Jersey (though as of October 31 their offices were still without electricity). The LDR Coordinator is Pastor Lisa Barnes. Her cell phone number is 609-658-7988.
- Mission Investment Fund Regional Manager Pastor Mark Wimmer is available to discuss assistance for "any church or ministry in your Synod that has suffered damage as a result of the hurricane." Contact Mark.Wimmer@ELCA.org or phone 267-203-1137.
- Please encourage folks who are able to make gifts to ELCA Domestic Disaster Response. This Sunday would be a good time to begin receiving special offerings, perhaps designating a portion to be used for local assistance, and sharing the rest with the wider church to invest where the needs are greatest.
All of you continue in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you with abundant grace, strength, hope, and peace in these days.
A Prayer from Julian of Norwich (A.D. 1342-1416)
In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.
In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. You are our mother, brother, savior.
In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace.
You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.
You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.
Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well. Amen.
Bp. Roy Riley
As disasters arise fro time to time, one agency you can alway count on is the ELCA's Disaster Relief Fund. You can donate directly through one of the following, or simply bring your gift to worship, earmarked for whichever relief effort is appropriate, and we'll get it to Lutheran Disaster Relief for you.
- ELCA International Disaster Response
- P.O. Box 71764
- Chicago, IL 60694-1764.