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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 182,077 baptized members in 624 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.

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A NEWS RELEASE
From Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA)

GHDA APPEAL TO ASSIST ELCA DISASTER RESPONSE

Winnipeg, September 2, 2005 (ELCIC)-- Financial gifts marked "Hurricane Katrina Relief" and sent to GHDA will be forwarded to the Lutheran Disaster Response for use as best needed.

An ELCA NEWS SERVICE bulletin today received read as follows:

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Lutherans and Episcopalians together will take on the task of providing food for tens of thousands of people who have escaped Hurricane Katrina, according to Heather L. Feltman, director for Lutheran Disaster Response, a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). About 23,000 people, who have taken refuge at the Superdome in New Orleans since Aug. 28, attempted to move Sept. 1 to the Houston Astrodome.

"The Red Cross does not have the capacity" to provide food for people in the Astrodome this month, and "it has asked faith communities for help," said Feltman. "In the fourth week of September, Lutherans and Episcopalians together will work to provide food" for people in the Astrodome.

"It will take $1 million to feed people for one week," said Feltman. "We are committed to seeing that this happens. Volunteers from the Lutheran church and the Episcopal Church will be needed," she said.

The ELCA entered into a "full communion" relationship with the Episcopal Church in 2001. Both churches engage in a variety of shared ministries, including the exchange of clergy under certain circumstances.

Saving human life continues to be priority as search and rescue efforts continue, after Hurricane Katrina caused massive destruction in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, said Feltman.

"Lutheran Disaster Response is waiting for permission to enter disaster areas, but it is working with local partners to provide immediate" assistance to people "displaced from their homes, communities and work," she said.

Lutheran Disaster Response is also "ready to deploy emotional and spiritual care for people in affected areas, once we receive word that it is safe to do so," she said.

"The ELCA's response to Hurricane Katrina will include spiritual and emotional counseling, care for caregivers, volunteer support for debris removal and, eventually, home rebuilding," said Feltman, who also serves as director for ELCA Domestic Disaster Response.

In response to "immediate needs, hardship grants are available to ELCA and other community members who have been displaced and need assistance with emergency expenses such as temporary housing, child care, special medical equipment or health care needs," she said.

"Volunteers will be available to help survivors navigate and access the resources available to them as they rebuild their homes and lives," Feltman said.

"Hurricane Katrina has damaged many churches and many churches are under water," said Feltman. "As soon as flood waters recede, we will have a better assessment of what the overall status is," she said.

For more information, see http://www.elcic.ca/ and http://www.elca.org/disaster/

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
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