Regional training for disaster aid begins

By Kim Plummer Krull

LCMS members with expertise and an interest in helping congregations reach out when catastrophe strikes will participate in one of six Regional disaster.jpgDisaster Response Training events to begin this month.

Districts are hosting the first-time sessions primarily for members of newly organized District Disaster Response teams. The first event is set for the Southern District, April 29-30, in New Orleans.

“These teams are essential to the LCMS disaster-response plan, which will empower and enable districts, congregations, and LCMS World Relief and Human Care to respond to disasters in a more efficient and effective manner,” said Rev. Glenn Merritt, director of Disaster Response with LCMS WR-HC. “While state and national relief efforts are being mobilized, the church will have an opportunity to reach out and minister to those in need.”  

Both the District Disaster Response teams and their District Disaster Response coordinators are key players in the LCMS congregation-based disaster-response concept that has been in the works since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.

According to the plan, District Disaster Response teams will offer ongoing disaster-preparedness training to participating congregations. They will encourage congregations to form their own congregational Disaster Response teams, including members who can provide an early Lutheran response to people in need.

Along with Merritt, Rev. Carlos Hernandez, director of Districts and Congregations with LCMS WR-HC, and Rev. Ralph Buchhorn, president of Extra Mile Ministries, will be among the presenters at each training session.

The regional events follow the first District Disaster Response Coordinators Conference, hosted in January by LCMS WR-HC, which took the lead in developing the disaster-response concept. 

District Disaster Response team members, typically, are volunteers recommended by the District Disaster Response coordinators and approved by district presidents or boards of directors.

Regional training sessions will include sections on developing:

  • disaster outreach ministries.

  • disaster-response capacity.

  • Lutheran early-response teams.

  • disaster-funding resources.

Regional Disaster Response training sessions are scheduled for:

  • April 29-30, New Orleans, hosted by the Southern District and also including the Texas, Mid-South, and Florida-Georgia Districts.

  • May 8-9, Burnsville, Minn., hosted by the Minnesota South and Minnesota North Districts and also including the Iowa West, Iowa East, Nebraska, North Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota Districts.

  • May 22-23, Portland, Ore., hosted by the Pacific Southwest, California-Nevada-Hawaii, and Northwest Districts and including the Rocky Mountain and Montana Districts.

  • May 28-29, Irvine, Calif., with the same hosts and district participants as listed for the Portland event.

  • June 2-3, Addison, Ill., hosted by the Northern Illinois District and including the North Wisconsin, South Wisconsin, Central Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio Districts.

  • June 24-25, Baltimore, Md., hosted by the Southeastern District and including the Eastern, New Jersey, Atlantic, and New England Districts.

Two other regional training sessions are in the works, tentatively planned in the South Dakota and Missouri Districts.

For more information, contact Merritt at (314) 703-6955 or glenn.merritt@lcms.org.

Posted March 27, 2008

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