Residents of Sumner, Iowa woke up to flash flooding Saturday morning after a storm dumped nearly a foot of rain. They also found themselves without power.


When Pastor Mark Anderson, Assistant to the Bishop, received the news, he and his wife, Beverly Anderson, along with Assistant to the Bishop, Steve Brackett, picked up nine flood buckets from Redeemer in Waverly, a generator and a sump pump and showed up to help at St. John, Sumner.

20264629_1633479293370792_1359580782947376739_n (1)

They didn’t even get all the buckets out of the truck before others from the town showed up asking for buckets.

They had heard the Lutherans were here to help and had buckets to give away.

When Pastor Scott Duffus heard about the flooding, he headed to his church, Grace in Tripoli, where 58 of the buckets collected at the Synod Assembly in June were being stored.


He saw that some middle school girls were having a birthday party across the street and asked if they would like to help him load the buckets.  They were more than happy to oblige.

All in all, 67 buckets were given out to those who needed them in Sumner.  Other volunteers who showed up were surprised we were handing them out at no cost with no questions asked to whoever needed them.  “That’s what we do,” Pastor Anderson remarked.

After St. John was cleaned and dried out, the synod volunteers went to the Hill Crest Nursing Home to clean that out since it is a designated emergency relief center.


Once again, ELCA Lutherans were the first to arrive at a disaster scene and the last to leave.

“This is a new and exciting ministry,” remarked Pastor Mark Anderson, “It was made possible thanks to the people and congregations who brought flood buckets to the Synod Assembly in June.”

The Northeastern Iowa Synod is working with Lutheran Services in Iowa to provide a disaster fund to help families recover.  Gifts designated for Iowa Disaster Relief can be sent to the Synod.  Also, we have depleted our Flood Bucket supply, so we welcome more of those for the next time this happens.

How to make a Flood Bucket

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.