First-hand report from Chile sparks request for donations

Damage from the February 27 earthquake. (International Red Cross Photo)

WINNIPEG — Lutheran Church–Canada has donated $10,000 to Chilean earthquake relief.

Rev. Robert Bugbee, LCC president, made the announcement this week, after receiving an e-mail from Rev. Carlos Schumann, president of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (ILCC).

Bugbee said the money will come from the church’s emergency-relief fund, and he called on members to help out.

“I would like to ask if you can help provide additional funding for the Chilean church,” said Bugbee. “I know we just came to you on behalf of Haiti so I find it difficult to ask again, but, having met Rev. Schumann in Korea last year, I know his passion for touching lives of his fellow Chileans with the great good news of the Gospel and I also know, from our own experience in both Nicaragua and Thailand, how God can use these tragedies.”

According to news reports, the February 27, 8.8-magnitude earthquake—which was 700 to 800 times stronger than the earthquake that hammered Haiti—has already claimed more than 300 lives. It has also affected more than two-million people.

Its epicenter was about 100 kilometres northwest of Chillan, Chile, a city in the country’s north.

President Schumann said some have decided to respond to the quake with violence, and now the government has enacted a 6 p.m. to noon curfew.

Nora Schumann and Carlos Schumann, president of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile, at the International Lutheran Council meeting in Korea, August 2009.

“There have been incredible sackings, robberies, assaults to aid vehicles, toll collections by delinquents, and deaths by violence,” he reported. “The citizens have armed themselves to defend their possessions.”

Despite the violence, the ILCC has developed a plan of action. He said the church will focus its efforts on smaller locations that have suffered proportionally more than larger cities and are often forgotten by TV cameras.

Closer to Santiago, Chile’s capital city, the church will contact former members and family members of current members and create a focal point for operations.

The church is also posting information and photos on its website,

“We are not a church with a great impact capacity,” said Schumann. “We do not have a great amount of members that can move ahead great tasks of reconstruction. We must focus on that in which we can achieve success, still considering the outside support both in human as well as material resources.”

Schumann said the church has received offers of support from Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, the United States and Canada.

Meantime, Bugbee reminded Lutherans in Canada to remember how God “has blessed our country, and in turn, how we can bless others.”

He said individuals can make donations by visiting or send cheques marked Chile Relief to 3074 Portage Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3K 0Y2.

Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: March 4, 2010
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