Dear People of Greater Milwaukee Synod,
In the ELCA the year 2011 will go down as a year of natural disasters. A tornado in Missouri, flooding in the Dakotas, drought in Texas, a hurricane on the east coast, followed by flooding in New England have directly affected people throughout the ELCA in this country. However, it doesn’t stop here. Not only are we connected together as church in this country, we are part of a global network. Both of the global partnerships of the Greater Milwaukee Synod have now been deeply affected by natural disasters.
A couple of months ago the drought in Africa had spilled over into Tanzania and affected many of our partners in the Meru Diocese. Thankfully they have had some rain recently which does not fix the problem, it does ease the pain and offers hope to the people living there. This past month torrential rains have battered Central America and have been particularly devastating in our companion synod in El Salvador.
Yesterday I met with Pastor Rafael Menjivar who is visiting from El Salvador and is staying with the people in St. Peter’s in Sheboygan. The rains and mud slides have been particularly devastating, especially in the coastal areas. The needs are both immediate and long term. Many people have been displaced from their homes. There have been food shortages. The long term affects have also been significant. What was to be an excellent crop has now been destroyed in many areas of the country. The recovery will be a long one.
Pastor Manjivar brings greetings from Bishop Medardo Gomez who expresses deep gratitude for our ongoing partnership. The first thing that Bishop Gomez asks for is our ongoing prayer for the people of El Salvador. As one might expect there is also a great need for support for material needs.
The complete story is best told on our Greater Milwaukee Synod Partners with El Salvador website, partnerswithelsalvador.org.
All Saints Sunday, Nov. 6th, was previously scheduled to be a celebration of our partnership with the Lutheran Church in El Salvador. A special offering was previously planned. The urgency has since increased greatly. I invite you to join me in your generous response to the needs of our neighbors.
Bishop Jeff Barrow