With support from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA,) Liberty Lutheran has further extended its services to individuals and families recovering from a disaster.
Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA (LDR-PA) has received a two year grant of $14,000 from the ELCA to pilot a Spiritual Support Partners program for Disaster Recovery. Disaster Spiritual Partners are trained in disaster preparedness and recovery. They will accompany pastors and other faith-based leaders who find themselves in the midst of disaster affected areas and provide coaching and spiritual support during the recovery process.
Teaching from experience
Bringing his years of experience in disaster response and recovery, The Reverend Tom Kadel, Christ Lutheran Church in Kulpsville, was named supervisor of the Spiritual Partners program.
Tom says, “But God is stronger — showing up in friends and neighbors who care. If you want to see a miracle, just go to a place everyone thinks God abandoned!”
How the project works
The project is designed to teach pastors about the stages of disaster recovery, best ways to serve the community, and how to effectively care for themselves while working in these stressful situations.
Julia Menzo, coordinator of Lutheran Disaster Response for Eastern Pennsylvania says, “When we proposed this program to the ELCA we hoped to create a framework for the development and implementation of a training program for volunteer chaplains.”
Spiritual Care Partners today include Pastor Paul Sorcek, Advent Lutheran Church Richboro, Pastor Barry Spatz, Jacob’s-Outwood Lutheran Parish, Director, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and Pastor Dan Schaeffer, Schwenksville, Pa.
Spiritual Partners Respond to Local Disasters
In the midst of several local disasters, the newly trained Spiritual Partners went to work. In December, following the fatal shooting of six people in Montgomery County, Pastors Kadel, Spatz and Sorcek supported local pastors as they dealt with the stunned and grieving communities. Also in December, Pastor Spatz was deployed to reach out to a Lutheran Church in close proximity to a multi-unit row home fire.
In each case, these pastors expressed their appreciation for the support they received from the larger faith community. The gift of being present is important to the Disaster Spiritual Partners program.
Tom says, “So often the most spiritual thing I’ve done is hand a bottle of water to someone.”
Liberty is blessed to have our Spiritual Partners join us in this recovery work and bring hope and healing to individuals and families in our communities.
This is one of many articles featured in the spring edition of our At Liberty magazine. Click here to check out to the complete digital version on our website.