By Pastor Chris Markert, Bishop’s Associate for Mission
Since Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast Synod has invested in synod-wide disaster preparedness and response. And throughout the years and with disasters like Hurricanes Rita, Ike and Harvey, and with the floodings in places like Baton Rouge, Houston and Galveston, the work of disaster preparedness and response continues to evolve.
In November 2019, a new synod Disaster Preparedness and Response Team (P&R Team) convened to assist congregations, communities and the synod office in preparing for and responding to disasters.
The priorities set by the P&R Team include: 1) Preparing congregational members, churches and the local community for resiliency during times of disaster; and 2) Responding to disasters in our synod by caring for pastors and deacons, and then congregations, so they can, in turn, become community leaders and community centers of recovery and response for their neighborhoods. The P&R Team also clarified the specific work of the synod expression during disasters, with a focus on short-term and mid-term response in collaboration with ELCA and LSSS Disaster Response, ecumenical partners, and other government agencies and community organizations.
The P&R Team has set a goal for each congregation to have a disaster response plan and contact person for disaster response communication. You can help by having your pastor or council president fill out this quick online survey by March 15.
Pastor Brian Deckinger is the P&R Team Leader. For more information about the P&R Team, email Pastor Brian.