By Kim Plummer Krull
Three years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, needs continue to surface in New York City, including the needs of children who live under the constant threat of another assault.
Little ones are the big reasons why the first disbursement from a total $450,000 grant from LCMS World Relief and Human Care to Lutheran Disaster Response of New York (LDRNY) this summer funded a children’s day camp hosted by Christ Assembly Lutheran Church, a mission congregation in Queens of the Synod’s Atlantic District.
“Children need to know that in the midst of all the fear, there is a new ground where they can feel safe and hear a message of hope and love,” said Ann Tiemeyer, director of Koinonia NYC, the Lutheran camp ministry that sponsored the New Ground Day Camp at Christ Assembly in partnership with LDRNY.
LDRNY–a cooperative agency of the Atlantic District and the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America–provided $8,000 in funding from the LCMS World Relief and Human Care grant for LCMS congregation-based, post-9/11 disaster response ministries.
Twenty-nine children, mostly from African-immigrant families, attended the July 5-9 session, which included Bible studies tied to the camp theme, “It’s God–It’s Good.” A mental health advisor from Lutheran Counseling Center helped youngsters work on “tools for life,” including communication and coping skills.
The camp offered reassurance in a city where the threat of future attacks makes never-ending headlines and police engage in daily disaster drills, said John Scibilia, LDRNY executive director.
“Imagine living in a city where you constantly hear that your city is a main terrorist target and how unprepared your country is for another attack,” Scibilia said. The “wave effects” of Sept. 11 continue to hit people, he said, including those who lost no loved ones at Ground Zero.
Immigrants and professional church workers are the focus of other post-9/11 ministries, many which LDRNY began under its “Comfort and Renew” relief fund and that will continue with assistance from the LCMS World Relief and Human Care grant.
Job training programs are needed for low-income workers left unemployed by the city’s slumping hotel, restaurant and taxi businesses. Immigrants, Scibilia says, have been especially hard hit.
While pastors and chaplains are expected to remain strong, they experience many of the same fears as the people they lead. “One-on-one counseling can benefit pastors just as it can benefit others who go through such tremendous stress,” Scibilia said.
Like the New Ground Day Camp at Christ Assembly, post-9/11 ministries provide an outreach opportunity for host LCMS congregations.
“In times of crisis, we want to enable our congregations to reach out to their communities and let them know we care and that God cares,” said Rev. Carlos Hernandez, director of districts and congregations with LCMS World Relief and Human Care.
Rev. Matthew Harrison, LCMS World Relief and Human Care executive director, said the ministry “especially wanted these funds to provide programs in close proximity to LCMS altars, fonts and pulpits. We are delighted to designate these dollars to LDRNY for our Atlantic District congregations and their vital outreach.”
To learn more about LCMS World Relief and Human Care’s Congregation-Based Disaster Response Initiative and request a free brochure, call (800) 248-1930, Ext. 1388 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Plummer Krull is a free-lance writer in St. Louis who writes for LCMS World Relief/Human Care.
Posted Sept. 24, 2004