Sunday, August 27, 2006

Christ Lutheran in Chalmette

I had the honor to lead the Divine Service today at the temporary sanctuary of Christ Lutheran Church in Chalmette. In two days, it will be one year since their building was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. They are still in the process of rebuilding - even as much of St. Bernard Parish (County) still lies in rubble.

To the left is a picture of myself and Leo with Mrs. Ruth Friedrich. Ruth is the wife of the sainted Rev. Martin Friedrich, my colleague in the ministry at Salem whose funeral I served as liturgist this past Friday (see my earlier post). Ruth insisted on playing organ for the service today, and even with a little electronic keyboard, she can really make it sing!

We are certainly privileged to have such stalwart saints as Ruth in our midst, serving Christ and His Church.

Please keep the people of Christ Lutheran in your prayers. They are really struggling, but determined to stay together. They are led by a faithful pastor, the Rev. Philip Miller. Pastor Miller and his wife Monique were at seminary at the same time as Grace and I were. They and their three little children (Isaiah, Grace, and Silas) are committed to stay with this determined congregation. They are currently finishing up some much-needed rest and recreation.

The people of this parish commute from unbelievable distances when it would be so easy to give up. They even share a meal after the service so as not to lose the sense of community that they share with one another. They were so grateful for my filling in for them, and their sense of humor and gritty St. Bernard Parish sense of survival demonstrates their determination and faith.

I want to thank the people of Christ Lutheran for their hospitality, their kindness, their patience with a toddler running around, their affection, and for the wonderful meals over the past two Sundays - as well as the opportunity to partake of the Holy Sacrament with them and preach the Holy Gospel to them! The text of my sermon is in the previous entry below.

Finally, here are a handful of pictures from today.


This Pastor's Wife said...

Thanks for sharing the photos.

chaplain7904 said...

I'd very much like to read a report of the pastoral work you did immediately during and after the hurricane, and following up to today.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Chaplain:

In a previous post, I posted an article along those lines that I wrote for the Lutheran Church Charities website. The LCC was instrumental in helping us help other people in New Orleans. Anyway, here's the link (posted in July 2006)

Most of this activity was two weeks after the storm. After working with the crews for a week, and having the power return at my house in Kenner, I was determined to bring my family home. Hurricane Rita caused complications, and we had to outrun that storm as well.

Our biggest hurdle was getting our school (the largest grade school in the Southern District) back up and running, and locating all of our parishioners. In October, our school re-opened with a record enrollment. Our principal Joey Althage (a faithful confessional layman and a great leader) deserves a medal for rallying the troops and getting the parents, teachers, staff, and students all back together in a short period of time.

Our church lost about 15% of our members, and it has hurt our budget. People continue to move away, but Rev. Keith Brda and I continue preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments. That's the most important and greatest pastoral recovery work that there is.

Thanks for asking about us, and blessings on your own ministry!