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WELS responds to Sandy’s aftermath
The storm clouds have receded, but many on the East Coast are still feeling the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy, which blew in from the Atlantic late Monday night into Tuesday causing billions of dollars of damage. Power is out for millions of people along the Atlantic seaboard, trees are down, and roadways are closed.
WELS Christian Aid and Relief has been monitoring the storm and its effects and has been in contact with WELS churches in the affected areas. At this time, no major damages to WELS churches have been reported. Christian Aid and Relief continues to contact the area congregations daily to assess needs, but power outages and downed phone lines have hindered communications.
Rev. Jerome Enderle, pastor at Grace of God, Dix Hills, N.Y., says, “Our whole area here is without heat and electric and phone, so everything is out and it could be a week to 10 days before it’s back up.” He says one of trees that came down in his yard narrowly missed his roof. “The good Lord was watching out that way.”
North Atlantic District President Donald Tollefson says: “I’ve been in contact with Mark Vance with Christian Aid and Relief. That’s really a blessing to know that there are people who are concerned and want to help. As far as I know, all of our congregations—the buildings—were spared, and more important the people were spared too.”
This coming Sunday evening (after the congregations have had a chance to gather for worship) Christian Aid and Relief will be conducting a teleconference with the pastors of the New York and New Jersey congregations and Tollefson to hear their initial assessment reports and to start formulating a response plan.
Mark Vance, Christian Aid and Relief director of operations, says: “As WELS Christian Aid and Relief continues to work with our congregations affected by Sandy in support of their members and communities, we want to thank everyone for their prayers, their Christian concern, and their patience. The Red Cross, FEMA, and local governmental agencies are busy making safe these hard hit areas so relief volunteers can come in and help with recovery operations.”
Vance continues, “As always, the churches will play a significant role in this next phase of assistance. As the plan comes together, we will keep everyone advised of how you can help. Because of the huge size of this storm, if there are other congregations outside of the New York/New Jersey area that have relief needs from the storm, we most certainly want to hear from them as well.”
WELS President Rev. Mark Schroeder says, “While our efforts will center first on WELS members and congregations, WELS Christian Aid and Relief will also be ready to assist others in the communities affected by this storm. In helping members and non-members alike, we not only demonstrate our Christian love and concern, but through these efforts we may well have many opportunities to share God’s Word and bring people to know the kind of peace and security that no storm can destroy.”
Updates will be provided as they are available on www.wels.net and in the synod’s newsletter Together.
You can help by continuing to offer your prayers for safety and quick recovery. You can also support WELS relief efforts by donating online at www.wels.net/hurricanerelief or by sending a check to WELS Re: Christian Aid and Relief, 2929 N Mayfair Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53222-4398.
Please print this breaking news, available as a PDF, and include it in your congregation's bulletin this weekend.