September is National Preparedness Month.

Disaster preparedness might not be the first thing a congregation thinks about, but as Bethany Lutheran in Kensett discovered last February, congregations are often called upon to help in an emergency.  Read more about how they were able to respond.

Perhaps this is the time for you to review how prepared your congregation is.  Both the ELCA and Northeastern Iowa Synod have many resources to help you do that.

To celebrate National Disaster Preparedness Month, ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response is unveiling their new Congregational Disaster Preparedness Guidebook.

You can download this free guidebook and use it as a resource to prepare your congregation in the event of a disaster or crisis. Being prepared allows congregations to better serve their community and share God’s promise of new life in the midst of a disaster.

The Manual is now posted on the ELCA website at under the General tab.
You will notice there are 4 downloads available. The first is the entire manual, the second is the congregational preparedness section, the third is the congregational response section and the last section are worksheets that congregations can use to help facilitate their work.

“It would be wonderful if every congregation would take a look at the Synod’s disaster plan and think about their role in being prepared to help their neighbors in times of crisis,” says Pastor Mark Anderson who works with our Synod Disaster Response Network.

The Northeastern Iowa Synod Disaster Response Network works with the Churchwide Disaster Response team to coordinate responses in times of emergency.  Local congregations are always the first responders but Synod and Churchwide leaders stand ready to provide additional help when necessary.

Besides responding in emergencies the network is available to work with congregations now to review insurance coverage, back up important documents, First-Aid preparation and purchasing equipment.  You can find several resources at our website under Disaster Response Network.

 “Having recently gotten involved with the Disaster Response Network, I am impressed with the work that has been done by others before me.  As Rev. Mark Anderson has noted, when faced with disasters of various types in the past year, our Lutheran congregations responded marvelously well.  As the group begins to reorganize, we will continue to lift up resources which can help congregations respond when disasters strike.”


Pastor Kurt Hansen,
Northeastern Iowa Synod Council Liaison
Synod Disaster Response Network

Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson
Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.