Hurricane leads to church-planting effort

“Every cloud has a silver lining,” the saying goes, and it seems Hurricane Katrina is no exception.  (See related story.) 

Thousands of people who lived on the Gulf Coast before the storm now live further inland or in other states, which has created new opportunities for mission work, according to Dr. Robert Scudieri, associate executive director of LCMS World Mission’s National Mission Team.

Baton Rouge, La., is booming with as many as 50,000 evacuees, according to news reports, and has been identified as a likely church-planting site by partners of a new LCMS mission effort that involves the Open Arms Institute, Church Development Partners, the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), the LCMS Southern District, and LCMS World Mission.

The plan, according to Scudieri, is to plant — over the next five years — 10 new congregations with childcare centers in new subdivisions and communities with growing populations.  As many as three are being considered for Baton Rouge, he said.  Other likely sites are Pensacola, Fla., and Gautier, Miss.

Open Arms, Church Development Partners, and the Southern District will work together to identify sites, determine feasibility, purchase property, and start the childcare centers, with LCMS World Mission and LCEF providing startup grants and loans, respectively.

“None of these groups could do it [alone], but the partners working together can make it happen,” Scudieri said.

“It’s a hopeful, positive thing out of this tragedy.”

Posted Aug. 25, 2006

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