Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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We are not alone.

Oct 31, 2012

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth be moved,

and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;

though its waters rage and foam,

and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.


In another example of the amazing coincidence of our lectionary with our lives, many of our churches prayed Psalm 46 last Sunday.   


It says, in glorious words and images, "We are not alone."


The waters of the sea roar and foam, mountains shake, whole communities are wiped off the face of the earth. In the midst of unspeakable disaster, this psalm reminds us that we are not alone.


Already I have received communications from Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson; from Pastor Stephen Bouman of our ELCA Department for Congregational and Synodical Mission; from Lutheran Disaster Response; from Lutheran Health Care in Brooklyn; from Lutheran Social Services of New York.   


And from other places, too. A congregation in Ohio; a friend in Finland; and this message from our companion synod, the Northwest Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania:   


Dear Bishop Robert Rimbo,

I am sending this message on behalf of Bishop Elisa Buberwa. He returned from a meeting in Indonesia yesterday and today he is attending a funeral of a close relative in his home village. Two main reasons he could not write personally.

This is a tough time for millions of people in New York City.  We therefore want to express our love, concern, and solidarity in the midst of the devastating effects caused by the Hurricane Sandy. We have watched painfully, through the media, the unthinkable damage, suffering, despair, and hopelessness the New York people and of other parts like New Jersey, have gone through. The loss of 18 people's lives in NYC, the flooding tunnels, the crippled NYC subways, damp, darkness, the damaged economic infrastructure, environmental effects, to mention a few.  Life is miserable, pain reigns supreme, fear and uncertainty sows the seeds of terror when an emergency of that magnitude strikes.

Bishop Elisa Buberwa, his family, your sisters and brothers of ELCT/North Western Diocese are holding you in prayer. We are praying for your quick recovery and resilience. We trust that timely response and intervention will be in place to provide the much needed psychosocial support for the well-being of the affected population. Kindly convey this message to the brothers and sisters of Metropolitan New York Synod. As companions and members of the body of Christ we feel very much touched and affected as well.

Our hearts and thoughts are with you, and above all, we commend you all in God's loving and caring hands to carry you through. Let you be reassured and find consolation and peace in the midst of such an atrocious calamity. (Psalm 121).

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Christopher Mbuga
Deputy General Secretary - ELCT/NWD


We are not alone.   


In the next few days, our synod staff will be in contact with as many of our congregations and ministries as we can reach. We will attempt to assess the magnitude of this disaster. We will keep in contact with you. If you wish to help financially, I urge you to send contributions to Lutheran Disaster Relief either through our synod or directly to the ELCA.


In all of this, please remember God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.


Sincerely in Christ,


Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo


disaster relief
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