Congregations Prepare for “The Big One”

Source: Living Lutheran

Every few hundred years, the tectonic plates that form the Cascadia Subduction Zone, bordering the Pacific Northwest of Canada and the United States cause huge earthquakes.

The last major quake was recorded in 1700 and experts are concerned that the next one could be as strong as 9.0 in magnitude.

Seeking to be proactive to this growing concern, many Lutheran congregations in the Oregon Synod formed the Oregon Synod Disaster Response Initiative. Launched last year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing displacement caused by wildfires, the synod Disaster Response Initiative leads a network of congregations through disaster preparedness workshops in an attempt to prepare churches for grappling with the unique nuances of various types of disasters.

Lutheran Bishop Laurie Larson Caesar of the Oregon Synod has been a huge supporter of the initiative and has been a huge supporter of encouraging congregational involvement (which is currently optional within the synod).

Jan Wierima, a Core Team member who works with the synod’s congregational vitality ministry, described the organization of the group stating, “It began with the bishop buying into the idea that congregations needed to have a plan and, in the act of making that plan [and] having those connections, they can figure out who else is in the neighborhood and the pastors get that [it’s vitality work], and that’s huge.”

Disaster work is congregational vitality work.

Core Team members work with congregations to create disaster preparedness plans. Additionally, virtual monthly meetings are held to share ideas and provide feedback and support for congregations. Some of the topics discussed on the call include: flood preparations, air quality during wildfires, pet and livestock safety or what to include in a disaster go-bag.

The ultimate goal is to build congregational resiliency.The Oregon Synod was awarded a grant from Lutheran Disaster Response to support the ongoing work.

Source: Living Lutheran