Friends in Christ – like everyone else in the area, we are preparing for what may very well be the most dangerous storm the area has had in just over a century. As of Tuesday morning, we can share the following:
- The ministries of Faith Lutheran Church will close at 12 Noon on Wednesday. The aftermath of the storm will determine when they will reopen.
- Once the church is closed, we will be unable to take messages at the church – you will need to speak to Pastor Wenndt directly until we reopen. Members have already been given that number;
- The Food Bank will be closed on Wednesday;
- All meetings, classes, and non-worship activities are cancelled from Tuesday through Sunday;
- An announcement about worship details for this weekend will be announced as soon as possible;
- The gatherings of all outside groups, including those meeting in the Good Samaritan Hall across the street from the church, are cancelled through Friday evening;
- The district convention of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, which included some daily commuters leaving from and returning to church this week, is cancelled. Details about refunds and such will be released as more information becomes available;
- The bi-circuit forum, which was to meet at Messiah-Tampa this coming Sunday to determine both pastoral and lay delegates to the 2023 LC-MS Convention in Milwaukee, is postponed, probably one week.
Members are encouraged to connect with either a Lay Deaconess, an Elder, or the Pastor, to let them know their whereabouts. In fact, it is somewhere between possible and likely that they are already trying to connect with you. That includes the decision as to whether you are evacuating or staying and where. Meanwhile, if there are ANY needs out there, do not hesitate to let us know what you need. Especially with a day or so before the storm arrives, we are in a position to honor a number of requests for items – and in fact already have.
And for all of God’s people in the area, we strongly encourage the following:
- Follow ALL instructions of the public Emergency Management Teams at the local, county and state levels. If your area is instructed to evacuate, EVACUATE. If you are encouraged to stay off the roads (as the storm reaches the area), STAY OFF THE ROADS.
- If you need some help determining whether your house or area is in one of the evacuation zones, you may contact us on Tuesday;
- Get whatever supplies you may need but DO NOT HOARD. Be considerate of others that have the same needs;
- No matter how many storms you claim you have been through and “have gotten by just fine”, this is not the time to have “weather cries wolf” fatigue. This is a large, powerful and dangerous storm, and needs to be treated as such;
- It may go without saying to have on hand emergency water, food, and medical supplies, but we’ll say it anyway. The recommendation is to have at least a two-week supply of prescription drugs ready. And do remember how many different things we use and need water for;
- You need to assume that power will be out, possibly for an extended period of time, following the storm. Now is the time to have or get emergency power supplies, including what you may need to charge up your cellphone and computers;
- And on that topic, while you have power, this may be the time to purchase and/or prepare some foods that can sustain you during the time when the power is out;
- Get whatever fuel you need for your vehicle, grill, generator, whatever;
- Keep extra batteries on hand, and make sure they are “fresh” and easily accessible;
- Collect important legal documents (i.e., wills, passports, medical records, etc.). One suggestion is that you keep them in a dry, elevated place. Especially once the power goes out, a microwave oven or like appliance will do nicely;
- While many do not think of this, be sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Finally, pray! The Lord called out during a storm, “PEACE! BE STILL!” [Mark 4:39, E.S.V.] and the storm obeyed. Our goal is to find His peace both as the storm approaches, while it is here, and after it leaves. If it helps to have worship materials with you as you face this storm, or if you’d like to borrow some from the church (hymnal, pew Bible, etc.), please do so.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ, and God our Father, who loves us, and gives us His everlasting comfort and good hope through the Gospel, strengthen your hearts in every good word and work as the Prince of Peace grants you His eternal peace at all times and in all ways. The grace of our Lord be with you all!
Rev. Thomas Wenndt – Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church of New Port Richey, Florida