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Lutherans gather for international conference on disaster relief

September 25, 2014 No Comment
The pastors and president of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines share their experiences during Typhoon Haiyan and how they responded to the disaster it caused during the second day of the 2014 Lutheran International Disaster Conference. (Photo: LCMS Communications).

The pastors and president of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines share their experiences during Typhoon Haiyan and how they responded to the disaster it caused during the second day of the 2014 Lutheran International Disaster Conference. (Photo: LCMS Communications).

USA – From September 23-26, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) is hosting the 2014 Lutheran International Disaster Response Conference at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This year’s theme is “Standing Together in Time of Disaster,” and features experienced disaster responders offering important ministry gleaned in the midst of actual disasters.

Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) Executive for Missions and Social Ministry is attending the event on behalf of the Canadian church. “Whenever our Lutheran brethren and people around the world in general face challenges through natural disasters, LCC, the LCMS, and our international partners stand as one, together extending Christ’s hand of mercy and relief in affected areas,” he explained.

“This is motivated by Jesus’ call to the Church of Christ to care for those in need as we proclaim the Gospel of salvation,” he continued. “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,’ Jesus said, ‘I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 26:35-36).”

Major presentations at the conference include theological addresses as well as case studies on work done during recent crises around the world. Among the many addresses, Associate Professor John Pless of Concordia Theological Seminary has spoken on “Theology of Suffering: Martin Luther, Preacher of the Cross,” and LCMS President Matthew Harrison on “Theology of Mercy.” Practical case studies have included an address by President Cristian Rautenberg of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile speaking on outreach following a major earthquake there in April, and a panel discussion on outreach in the Philippines following the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan last year.

“We are grateful to the LCMS for providing this conference,” said Dr. Neitzel. “It is very important as an opportunity to reflect, plan, and equip each other for readiness in assisting others in times of emergency.”

The conference ends Friday.

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