In the full trust in Jesus Christ, our Master and Redeemer we stand. Those of us at the Florida-Bahamas Synod know that, although the road to recovery will be longer for some our communities who were hit so hard by Hurricane Michael, we have hope.
We have hope, because of the solidarity and unity we feel in times such as these. The love of Christ and God’s people, is above any adversity.
We mourn the lives lost this week. The phone call saying "Good bye," was not what we wanted to hear right when Ian was blowing like a bomb through this father's house.
We cry with a pastor suddenly loosing his young wife to cancer, and the next day rolling his sleeve because his congregation was being knocked by this crazy storm.
We work together with a congregation opening it's doors to shelter those less fortunate that lost more to flooding.
We felt powerless when a pastor received a call from parishioners trapped in their flooded home asking to be rescued, when the rescuers were not allowed yet.
Or speechless when a pastor answers not knowing if the congregation still has a church building standing.
Dear ones, I haven't heard from all. But, this bishop's heart is sunk, crying with the people of God in Lee County, Kissimee, Daytona and more.
But I know that we are very fortunate to have one another. That as soon as the Rescue and Recovery Teams manage to stabilize some intensely damaged areas, we will go in for the long run, with our Synod Disaster Response, with our ELCA Disaster Response, and with all our hearts.
This is our turn to be brave. Thank you God for this wonderful church, this great network, the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America!
Peace and good,
+ Bishop Pedro Suarez
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA
Help us share God's hope, healing and renewal with those whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Ian across the Florida-Bahamas Synod. When the water recedes and the headlines change, your generous donation will help provide ongoing assistance to those in need. CLICK HERE to visit fbsynod.com/ian to give today! O God, who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the troubled heart, bring hope and courage to all who are affected by this hurricane as we start to recover. Bring assurance that you will be with us in whatever lies ahead. Give us courage to endure all that we now face, for you are our refuge and strength. You are God, and we need you.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. (adapted from ELW Pastoral care, page 174)