From Bishop Michael Rinehart, to the People of the TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Aren't we supposed to be having hurricanes this time of year?

600 houses have burned, along with 33,000 acres. The fires are not yet under control. One pastor/mission developer in Austin lost everything. Ed and Susan Steinbring (founding pastor at New Hope, Missouri City), lost their home and several rental properties. The Citzler homestead burned to the ground. Three families at St. Paul, Columbus lost their home.

"Fire Fund" should be in the memo of any checks made out to the synod. People can give online at the synod website: The shelters in Bastrop and Smithville have in-kind needs, but those change by the hour, so I can't outline those. As usual most places prefer the portability of cash.

Our work is responding to immediate needs now. Later it will be long-term recovery: rebuilding homes. Peggy is working diligently to prepare a day camp this Saturday for displaced kids in Bastrop (at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church) and Smithville (at First United Methodist Church). This will give parents a break and kids a fun time. We'll also be distributing back packs, as school begins soon, and many of these kids have nothing.

In all of this we are extremely fortunate that no lives were lost in the Lutherhill fire, and no major buildings were lost. Lutherhill will have a workday to get ready for fall groups. Keep your eyes out for information.

Thanks for caring, and for engaging your congregation in responding.

Yours in Christ,

Michael Rinehart, bishop
Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
God’s work. Our Hands.

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