The Rev. Steven Wagner, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lombard, spent a little extra time in Houston recently -- unplanned time -- as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
Now members of Trinity's congregation and school families have responded to the storm in a hands-on way by gathering supplies for Flood Relief Buckets to be distributed as needed in case of future flooding in Illinois or elsewhere.
Churches of all denominations jumped into relief efforts following disastrous flooding in the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and other storms through July, August and September in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and even nearby Lake County.
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod organizes the efforts of its congregations through LCMS Disaster Response, which coordinates the Flood Relief Bucket project. The supply of buckets has dwindled after the climactic events of recent months.
"The congregation has really gotten behind the project," Wagner said. "They are collecting supplies throughout October and will assemble the buckets on Oct. 29 as part of Trinity's celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation."
As Wagner was headed south for a hometown visit during the third week of August, the giant storm was nowhere near making landfall and his destination was not at risk -- but all that changed. He and his hosts watched daily as the floodwaters crept closer, and although their home was spared, they were stranded for several days.
Empathy for those suffering because of these damaging storms is strong at Trinity.
"Not only was our pastor stuck in Houston during this awful storm, but everybody here knows someone in Texas or Florida who had to evacuate or be evacuated," said Trinity Lutheran School preschool teacher Rachel Solyom, whose cousin was taken out by boat.
The church welcomes community contributions to the effort. Many of the needed items can be purchased at dollar or discount stores. They include: paper towels, disposable rags, glass cleaner, cleansing powder (i.e. Comet), liquid cleaner, bleach (1-gallon size), scrub brushes, rubber gloves, sponges, brooms, mops and 5-gallon bucket containers.
Cleaning supplies or financial support of the project may be dropped off at Trinity's office by appointment. Call (630) 629-8765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.
Trinity is at 1165 S. Westmore-Meyers Road, on the northeast corner of Roosevelt and Westmore-Meyers roads, where it has operated Trinity Lutheran School since 1860.