LCMS, local congregations help in Sandy’s aftermath

Donations requested to support the victims

ST. LOUIS, November 6, 2012 — The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) continues to help its districts and congregations along the East Coast support their members and surrounding communities still suffering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Financial gifts are the needed most at this time because they allow the LCMS to get immediate support to local congregations.

“The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has pledged its full support of material, financial and people resources to the LCMS pastors in this region,” said the Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, director of LCMS Disaster Response.

A four-person team from the LCMS returned Saturday after spending four days visiting LCMS congregations and districts in New York and New Jersey to survey the damage and determine the best way to support the recovery effort.

The LCMS disaster team included Merritt; the Rev. Bart Day, director of the LCMS Office of National Mission; the Rev. Carlos Hernandez, director of LCMS Church and Community Development; and Albert Dowbnia, director of Digital Media with LCMS Communications.

In Staten Island, N.Y., which suffered more deaths of any of New York City’s boroughs with more than 20, Merritt said the team witnessed “tremendous damages everywhere.”

People were struggling to get around in the debris; to buy gasoline – with many carrying gas cans and waiting hours in lines up to a half-mile long at gas pumps; and to stay warm. Forecasts for a Nor’easter this week could compound the situation.

Without power, many Staten Island stores cannot accept credit-card payments and banks are running out of cash.

Three Staten Island, N.Y., pastors – the Rev. Philip Saywrayne of Christ Assembly Lutheran Church; the Rev. Randall Russell of St. John’s Lutheran Church; and the Rev. Allan Fjordbotten of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church – have not been able to contact all their members, since landlines are down, cell phone service is sporadic and some areas are not accessible.

“It’s mind-boggling,” Fjordbotten said. “We’re in the process of trying to assess the damage and find out who else is affected here.”

John’s members gathered cases of water and food, and members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, delivered hundreds of grocery bags with food and personal-care items to St. John’s members, for distribution in the community. New clothing and shoes donated to St. Matthew’s also was given to local residents. Flood-cleanup buckets donated by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Arlington, Texas, also will be distributed by the churches on Staten Island.

The two-story home in Brick Township, N.J., of Nancy Tancona, a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Point Pleasant, N.J., was flooded during Sandy. She watched as water started coming in through the door and then the walls of her home. “Within an hour, water was up to just below my waist,” she said.

Two young men who are members of the church helped her clear the debris after the water receded. “I could not have done it without them,” Tancona said, calling the young men a “blessing.”

On Friday, the LCMS announced it had released $35,500 in initial grants to help victims of Sandy.

The LCMS awarded a $15,000 emergency grant to the LCMS Atlantic District to help those in need of food, shelter, clothing and other personal items. The LCMS also awarded a $10,000 grant to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti – an LCMS partner church – and $10,500 to the Cuban Mission Society to help replace roofs and for water filtration systems to help in the storm’s aftermath.

To help:

  • make an online gift (;

  • mail checks payable to “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod” (with a memo line or note designating “LCMS Disaster Response”) to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861; or

  • call toll-free 888-930-4438.

To view all the LCMS videos about Sandy, visit:

In the last five years, the LCMS has provided more than $35 million for domestic and international disaster response efforts.  Keep up to date on the LCMS’ disaster response effort at

About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The 2.3 million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ.  Learn more at


Vicki Biggs
Director, Integrated Communications
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
314-996-1236 | 314-556-3829 (mobile)

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