Message from Bishop Scott to NE Synod Congregations Regarding Storms

We hold in prayer all who have been affected by this week’s tornadoes and storms. Please know that the Nebraska Synod is ready to walk together as God’s people to provide assistance in the days, weeks, and months ahead. We are particularly grateful for the congregations of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bennington, Bethany Lutheran Church in Elkhorn, and First Lutheran Church in Blair who have opened their doors to meet their neighbor’s needs by providing meals, resources, and shelter.

The Nebraska Synod Disaster Response team has been activated, and will walk hand-in-hand with our ministry partners, especially Lutheran Disaster Response. If your faith community or congregation has been impacted, please reach out to Deacon Timothy Siburg directly. As of Saturday morning (4/27/2024), we are not aware of any church buildings affected by the storms, but do know that families and households of at least five congregations have lost their homes.

Information is still being gathered about potential volunteer needs and resources. We will share them as we can on social media and the synod website. As Lutheran Christians we are committed for the long-haul, and will walk with God’s people through the long days, weeks, and months ahead. In the immediate term, if you feel moved to respond and to help please do not send things, supplies, or physical donations of any kind unless directly asked for by area congregations or local organizations. Rather, if you feel moved to contribute, please consider the Nebraska Synod Disaster Response Fund. That is the fund for which the synod is able to grant funds to help families, households, and congregations with supplies and longer term rebuilding projects.

We’re in this together as God’s people, knowing the Good Shepherd walks with us always. Please check on your neighbors and reach out if you have need, and especially hold your siblings in Christ in prayer.

Let us pray. Holy God, in you alone we find safety and shelter. Be a sure refuge to all who were in the paths of this week’s storms and tornadoes. Grant courage, protection, and calm weather to all emergency responders; embrace with supportive communities all who are newly displaced or homeless; comfort those grieving all that has been destroyed and give patience to those who are anxious, not knowing when relief or help will come. Heal your whole creation, and bring us together in You. We pray through Jesus Christ, our life and our strength. Amen. [Adapted from All Creation Sings, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2020) pg. 50].

In deep hope and trust,
Scott Johnson
Bishop, Nebraska Synod, ELCA

P.S. – Please share this message in worship this weekend and with your faith community and congregation.