Lutherans rally gifts for hurricane relief

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The Lutheran Foundation and its 95 Lutheran congregations are directing aid to hurricane-damaged areas of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. The public also may contribute gifts that will be matched dollar for dollar up to $200,000.

The Foundation’s governing board has directed that matching funds be available as soon as possible to help rebuild houses and churches and to improve lives.

Some congregations are able to offer a match to donations directed to them for disaster relief. Trinity English Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, for example, will match donations from church members or the public. That combined gift will be matched by The Lutheran Foundation. The result is that a $5 donation will result in $20 of aid. The Lutheran Foundation matching dollars will be divided between disaster response agencies within the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America arms of the Lutheran Church to aid hurricane relief efforts.

Lutherans in any northeast Indiana congregation who wish to participate in the initiative can make directed gifts to their church. Churches will then be able to present those offerings to The Lutheran Foundation for the Foundation’s match. This initial phase of support will end Oct.31, so donors are encouraged to make their gift before then.

Anyone interested in supporting the relief effort and taking advantage of the leveraged impact of their funds may donate at a Lutheran Church, or checks can be sent to Lutheran Social Service of Indiana, Hurricane Relief, 333 E. Lewis St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802 or online at http://lssin.org/event/hurricane-relief or online at TrinityEnglish.org/give.

“We envision a wave of support flowing to the impacted areas as soon as agencies on the ground can begin to address the biggest needs,” said the Rev. Gary Erdos, senior pastor of Trinity English Lutheran Church. “We understand that the biggest need right now is money. Later, local Lutherans may have the opportunity to travel to the affected areas in Texas and Florida and participate in whatever rebuilding projects are identified by the agencies and congregations with which we’ll be working. Details have yet to be finalized, but we would tentatively anticipate such a trip sometime after the first of January 2018.”

“Our Lord has given us a great privilege and calling to serve our neighbor,” said the Rev. Dan Sheafer, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, “yet at times, the real difficulty is figuring out how best to serve our neighbors and their specific needs. It is a blessing to have The Lutheran Foundation’s leadership and guidance as we seek to unite as a community to mercifully serve our neighbors impacted by the recent hurricanes.”