Over the last ten days we have received word that there are people near us still suffering from storm damage associated with Hurricane Sandy. It turns out that in Somerset County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the city of Crisfield and surrounding areas were heavily damaged by wind and storm surge.**
Somerset may be the poorest county in Maryland. It is home to many elderly people, and unemployment is high. For some reason, unclear at least to me, the area has not qualified for federal disaster relief. Reports are that cleaning up and rebuilding are straining community resources past their breaking point.
Our sisters and brothers in the Delaware-Maryland Synod, which includes Somerset County, and the Southeastern District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are coordinating assistance around Crisfield.*** The ELCA has also contributed disaster relief funds.
We are asking
- that you include the people in Somerset County in your Advent prayers, and
- that you consider receiving an offering for Somerset County ministry or designating some emergency funds from your congregation’s budget.
Send any money that you want used for this purpose to the synod office, marked “Lutheran Response-Somerset County,” and we will forward the funds to the Lutheran long-term relief committee working in the area.
The storm damage in New Jersey and New York received wide publicity and has drawn great support and involvement from some congregations in our synod. But the situation closer to home also cries out for our attention.****
Thank you for responding as God leads you. And blessings for Advent,
Bishop Richard H. Graham
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
* This message was originally distributed to the rostered leaders of the synod (12/11/12).
** Photos of storm damage were forwarded by Deacon Kati Miller-Holland after her recent trip to Crisfield on Dec. 8. Find them on the home page and FB/metrodcelca.
*** Information about this Delaware and Maryland effort, Lutheran Partners in Disaster Response, can be found at www.lpdr.org.
**** “If your congregation does a regular mission trip or construction ‘plunge,’ consider going to Crisfield this year! They will need help for at least a year,” suggested disaster coordinators of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, in which Somerset County is located. Locally, Deacon Katherine Miller-Holland of Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area has said she will connect volunteers with opportunities as she becomes aware of them. The site listed above, www.lpdr.org, also lists volunteer suggestions.