Hurricane Harvey

Register Your Home

Crisis Cleanup
If your home has flooded and will need mucking out, the Gulf Coast Synod has partnered with other organizations and agencies through Crisis Cleanup. Flooded residents can register for a volunteer team to come muck out their homes.

You cannot register online. You must call 800.451.1954 to be placed on the list.

When the time comes for response and clean up work, if your church would like to send out muck-out teams, we will be helping to coordinate efforts when that time arrives.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Applicants may apply for help from FEMA by registering on their website. People without internet access may sign up by calling 800.621.FEMA (3362).

Individuals who have speech disabilities or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800.462.7585 directly; those who use 711 or video relay service should call 800.621.3362. Both toll-free numbers will be operational from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice, according to FEMA.

The Situation

Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast on August 25, threatening millions of people with multiple days of heavy rain, winds, and rising tides. While many have evacuated, significant damage is still expected, and thousands of people may be housed in shelters for an extended period of time.

Join LEAD’s Courageous Community

Following a natural disaster, healthy leaders must intentionally care for themselves as they care for others. LEAD’s Courageous Community is an opportunity for leaders everywhere to be part of the healing community. This effort will be focused on those who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey with the hope to expand and respond to other natural disaster needs in the future. Read more.

Response Resources

During the first stage following a disaster, search and rescue (typically first 72 hours), there is not much that can be done. Some areas may not even be accessible yet. With a hurricane or flooding, flood waters may still be rising in some areas while receding in others.

Once the water subsides, the community will begin the process of assessing their needs and how we can all work together to help the local congregations care for their community.

August 29, 2017

Peace to you, amidst the storm.

Waters are still rising in some parts of Houston. Some are still seeking shelter and responding to immediate needs; 2,500 have been rescued. Thousands of homes destroyed. It will take some time to know the full scope of the damage.

Some of our congregations on the western side of the synod have passed the worst part of the storm. It’s sunny in some places. Those out of harm’s way are moving into the recovery phase.

  1. Assess needs. Check with with your congregational members. Walk the neighborhood around your congregation and home to see that people are okay and have basic necessities like water, food,and shelter.
  2. For those who have damage, help them find living arrangements and apply for federal assistance.
  3. Pray daily at home and weekly at church. This disaster will shift our work this fall, for all of us.

August 28, 2017

Dear Gulf Coast Leaders,

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
– Isaiah 43:1-2

My prayers are with you as we reel from Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast late Friday night, early Saturday morning. Here in the Houston area, this has been a rain/flood event more than a wind event.

Our situation. Quite a few congregational leaders and members have evacuated. Many of us have members who lost everything. So far a dozen congregations have reported flooding in their facilities. I’m sure there are more. Some congregations are still inaccessible. Faith in Dickinson, Texas has perhaps three feet of water; St. Peter’s in Bay City, Texas may be a complete loss.

What’s going on at your place? We’re getting tweets, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and emails. We’ll take it however we can get it, but it would be most helpful if you could send us an email to let us know how you and your congregation are doing. We will keep track and report out. We’ll begin to formulate a short-term recovery plan once search and rescue is done, and the streets are passable. Financial and volunteer resources will be available. It’s good to be church together.

If you are in immediate need, please use these emergency numbers to get assistance:

  • For life-threatening circumstances ONLY: Call 9-1-1.
  • For shelter assistance and information, please call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Can we help? This disaster is still in progress, so there are no volunteer opportunities. Mayor Turner in Houston is asking people to stay off the roads. We will let you know when service opportunities arrive. Keep in mind that September 11 is God’s Work Our Hands day. There will likely be opportunities for service by then.

What you can do. People are asking, “What can we do?” It is natural to feel helpless. First, invite them to pray. All thoughtful action emerges from prayer and supplication. Second, invite them to give. Financial resources are fungible and portable. They can donate to the Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Fund (to help congregations and their people get back on their feet and serve their neighborhoods) and to Lutheran Disaster Response (for case management).

Updates. Please keep your eye on this page for updates. While we will continue to push out bits and pieces through social media, this will be our central hub for information.

 Stay hopeful and prayerful. As Paul says in Romans 12, the epistle text for this coming Sunday:
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.  


  1. […] Disaster response efforts will not get underway until the rain stops and the water recedes. In the meantime we urge you to generously support Lutheran Disaster Response and the Gulf Coast Synod disaster fund. […]