From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutheran Disaster Response Renews Understanding with the Red Cross

From news@ELCA.ORG
Date 08 Feb 2001 13:57:52


February 8, 2001


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Leaders of Lutheran Disaster Response, a
ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), and the American Red Cross
revised and signed a "Statement of Understanding" on Jan. 17 at the
offices of the Red Cross, Washington, D.C.
     The purpose of the statement is "to affirm a working relationship"
between the Lutheran Disaster Response and the Red Cross" in responding
to disaster relief situations at all levels," according to the
statement.  The four-page agreement replaces a 1988 statement.
     "The statement provides a framework for cooperation between the
two organizations, as we offer assistance and service to disaster
survivors.  It also points to ways in which we can cooperate before
disasters occur, connecting Lutheran congregations and coalition
partners with the Red Cross on local and regional levels," said the Rev.
Gilbert B. Furst, director for Lutheran Disaster Response, Chicago.
     The statement defines disaster as "an occurrence such as a
hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal
wave, earthquake, volcanic eruption, drought, blizzard, pestilence,
famine, fire, explosion, building collapse, transportation accident, or
other situation that causes human suffering or creates human needs that
the victims cannot alleviate without assistance."
     Other highlights of the statement include a concept of operations,
methods of cooperation between both organizations, and the definitions,
organizational structures and purposes of Lutheran Disaster Response and
the Red Cross.
     "We value our long-term disaster response partnership with the
American Red Cross.  We have had a written 'Statement of Understanding'
with the Red Cross since the beginning of Lutheran Disaster Response in
1988," Furst said.
     The statement considers changes that have occurred with the Red
Cross and Lutheran Disaster Response over the last 12 years, "including
the newly formed Lutheran Disaster Response Coalition," he said.
     Lutheran Disaster Response formed a coalition of Lutheran agencies
in June 2000.  The coalition, which serves to respond to disasters,
includes Aid Association for Lutherans, a fraternal benefits
organization based in Appleton, Wis.; ELCA Domestic Disaster Response;
ELCA Mission Builders; Lutheran Brotherhood, a fraternal benefits
organization based in Minneapolis; LCMS Laborers for Christ; LCMS World
Relief; Lutheran Hour Ministries; Lutheran Services in America; and
Orphan Grain Train.
     "We are thankful for the long-term partnership that has existed
between Lutheran Disaster Response and the American Red Cross, and we
look forward to continually fostering ways we can work together to
provide help and hope in times of disasters," Furst said.
     Furst and John A. Clizbe, vice president for disaster services,
American Red Cross, signed the "Statement of Understanding between the
American National Red Cross and Lutheran Disaster Response."
[Photos of the signing are available at]

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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