Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Pray for the people of the Seward Penninusula, Alaska

Dear Friends,

It has been brought to my attention by Kevin Massey, the director for Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran Disaster Relief, that the National Weather Service has announced a "life-threatening winter storm of historic proportions" headed for the Seward Peninsula in Alaska. It is being predicted that hurricane force winds (Cat. 2 or 3) will endure for at least 12 hours, during this storm. This is twice as long as sustained winds in an actual hurricane. Add to this enormous storm surges on coastal areas that are already experiencing major erosion from rising waters and we have a potential for great disaster.

The ELCA has five congregations on the Seward Peninsula, which comprises one-third of the native ethnic-specific congregations of the ELCA. I encourage you all to do two things: 1) Pray for the safety of these congregational members and their communities, and 2) watch for ways that you can be of help to them in the coming days and weeks. Until a specific person has been designated as the ELCA contact person for more information regarding this situation, who lives outside the impact area, I suggest you contact The Rev. Mark Allred, the D.E.M. for the Alaska Synod. His email ismark.allred@elca.org. The synod office number is 907-272-8899.

Thank you for your concern and prayers for the members of Our Savior's LC, Nome; Brevig Memorial LC, Brevig Mission; Teller LC, Teller; Shishmaref LC, Shishmaref; and Thornton Memorial LC, Wales.

Gordon Straw

Program Director for American Indian & Alaska Native Ministries
Congregational & Synodical Mission Unit- ESMM
8765 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631

1 comment:

  1. Dear friends,

    I am so grateful for all the kind expressions of support and prayers from so many, which have reached out and touched the people of the Seward Peninsula and Western Alaska. Things are improving greatly. The waters are still high at this moment, but receding. Damage assessments have yet to be made. But, overall, this historically dangerous storm is passing. Here is what I wrote on Facebook today (from FEMA's National Situation Report):

    The huge winter storm that hit Western Alaska is slowly moving NW, away from the AK coast. Storm surges and water levels have crested (after going over the sea wall) in Nome and are receding. Water levels are high throughout the area, but are beginning to recede. Scattered power outages have impacted approximately 4,000 people. Elevated water levels with high surf will slowly subside from south to north today. Mandatory evacuations have been lifted for coastal areas in Nome, AK. Thanks be to God!

    The pastors and congregations on Facebook have been putting up great information. There are even some videos on YouTube. I encourage you to engage with them to get more information, for example, Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Nome. Look for more news to come from the ELCA Communications office in coming days and weeks.

    Thank you for your partnership!

    Gordon Straw