Updates from our WELS churches in Florida
WELS South Atlantic District President Chuck Westra reports of many of our WELS churches in Florida following Hurricane Irma. Praise God, that so far, reports of damage appear minor.
John Gensmer reports from Cape Coral that all initial reports are good. Members heard from are safe and report minimal damage. Church building is secure and has power. He also reported that a member of his BIC class who longed for baptism was baptized during the storm. God grants us amazing privileges in ministry.
Ascension in Sarasota reports that some members sustained major roof damage and that many are without power. Clean up efforts have begun.
John Maasch in Bradenton reported that his home is fine. He has not been able to get to church yet. Al Gumm reported that despite a few leaks, all is well in North Fort Myers. John and Cindy Beck are fine and going to church (Prince of Peace, Englewood) to assess the damage. All is well in Lakewood Ranch (Caleb and Kristin Free). Power is back on.
Carlos Leyrer reports that while his home has power, the school and 75% of the county does not have power at this point. The school property lost trees, has some major sign damage, fence damage and a few leaks.
Charlie Vann reports the loss of a tree and very minor damage at home and expects to find the same at church.
Jeff Lohberger reports minor structural damage to roof and fascia at Christ the King in Palm Coast. All in all, things look good.
Joel Russow reported in from Tallahassee that their property sustained no major damage as the unpredictable storm took it turns. The Russow’s did have a house full of called workers from across the district. Joel stated that his son was convinced that all the company came for his birthday party. I give great thanks for our South Atlantic District family. God has granted not only hearts committed to ministry but a wonderful unity.
Marty Luchterhand also reported only minor damage despite a loss of power. Another pastor in the circuit did tell me that Mary suffered a broken ankle while preparing his home for the hurricane’s impact. So far, that is the worst injury to report in the district.
Mark Gabb and other members rode out the storm in the school gymnasium in Beverly Hills. The church and school property sustained minor damage but things looked very good in the aftermath. The saints of St. Paul’s are giving great thanks with many others that more damage was not sustained.
Pastor Bob Hein from Christian Aid and Relief said there are trailers in our district that are ready to be deployed if needed. He also stated that assistance could be offered if churches wanted to do relief work in the community. Essentially, they prioritize their work and assistance to 1) church and school 2) members and 3) assistance work in our communities.
We give thanks that God has spared the loss of life and, for the most part, has spared our facilities major structural damage.