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A Message from Bishop Hanson
June 2, 2011
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Our hearts have been breaking for weeks as we have watched incessant storms devastate many parts of the United States. From the plains of North Dakota to the bayous of Louisiana, floodwaters and torrential rain have washed out communities and cropland. Destructive tornado strikes leveled homes for miles in cities and towns including Joplin, Mo., and Cullman, Ala. Two ELCA church buildings -- one in each state -- were destroyed.
The winds destroyed the building of Peace Lutheran Church in Joplin, but not the faith of its members. Last Sunday they gathered in the parking lot in the midst of debris and shattered hopes to worship in the strong name of the risen Christ.
In the aftermath of storms that seem relentless, we may feel overwhelmed and anxious, but not powerless. For God’s promise is clear: nothing in all creation will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Trusting in God’s promise and the power of the Holy Spirit, we respond by joining together in God’s work of restoring community. The liberating power of the gospel frees us to repair roofs in Cullman and fill sandbags in Fargo, on behalf of people we don’t know and may never meet.
These are our commitments as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
In God's grace,
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
251 S. Broadway Avenue
Salem, OH 44460