100% of funds donated will be used to assist those in need.

South Carolina’s emergency helpline is now active around the clock. Anyone with questions Hurricane Irma should call the Public Information Phone System at 1-866-246-0133.

This letter was posted September 6th

Dear South Carolina Synod Leaders,

We are aware that today hurricane Irma has been listed as a powerful Category 5 storm and we are praying for everyone in her path. This hurricane is still far out and its exact path is not fully known. But what we do know is that it is essential for all of us to be as prepared as possible. In light of the desire to be prepared here are some things to consider:

  1. Know your evacuation routes and plan for a place of safe shelter inland for you and your family. Be sure to tend to the safety of your family.
  2. As you are able in these days leading up to the storm’s landfall, activate a “phone tree” or some other means for checking on the members of your church community to assess needs for assistance during and following the storm.
  3. Keep in touch with our office, as you are able, with feedback on how you, your family and your congregation are doing. It would help to have some kind of check in either by email or on Facebook from each leader/congregation letting us know your status, and your assessment of your church and area. Check in by email at neal@scsynod.com or by text at 607-349-8072 and we will all get the update.
  4. Let us know if your worship schedule has changed and we will post a listing on our website and our Facebook page.
  5. For those of you located more inland it would be helpful to know if your congregation has capacity/willingness to help with emergency housing for a couple of days, and if so, what kind of accommodations do you have and how many people can you accommodate?
  6. In the immediate aftermath of a storm people get restless and want to do “anything to help.” Please keep in mind that it is not always helpful to jump in when officials are still assessing the safety of the area. Recovery takes a long time and Lutherans are known for being in it for the long haul. Please exercise patience. But also let us know if your congregation has the capacity to be a collection and/or distribution center for water and food. You may also want to begin to identify volunteers who are ready to stand-by and offer clean up assistance with mucking out, etc.
  7. Below we have information from Gov. Henry McMaster and from Mark Sanford’s office with links for government assistance in times of emergencies. We also are providing a link to an ELCA resource called Congregational Disaster Preparedness Guidebook. We were just meeting last week with our Deans to develop Conference/Synodical Plans for Disaster Recovery and shared these materials. Unfortunately our Deans have not had the chance to follow through on setting up these plans. But this is a good time to get moving on it all. Some of these resources may duplicate information. We apologize if it does, but we want you to have what resources we have available to us.

As always, we are thankful for the partnership we share in the gospel with each of you and we are praying for everyone’s safety in the midst of this storm. May you feel the assurance of our Lord who comes to us and promises us to be with us in the midst of any storm.

In Christ,
Rev. Herman Yoos, Bishop
Rev. Ginny Aebischer, Assistant to the Bishop
Rev. Eric Wolf, Assistant to the Bishop

Gov. Henry McMaster has declared a “state of emergency” as Irma looms. This is a violent and large storm. Please pay attention to all notices.

Representative Mark Sanford issued this statement with many ways to contact services that are available.

Download and use the ELCA Congregational Disaster Preparedness Guidebook.

Keep in touch with our office, as you are able, with feedback on how you, your family and your congregation are doing. It would help to have some kind of check in either by email or on Facebook from each leader/congregation letting us know your status, and your assessment of your church and area. Check in by email at neal@scsynod.com or by text at 607-349-8072 and we will all get the update.

Let us know if your worship schedule has changed and we will post a listing on our website and our Facebook page.


Camp Kinard
6053 Two Notch Rd. Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina

As Hurricane Irma quickly approaches, we would like to once again offer emergency housing at Camp Kinard (Batesburg-Leesville, SC) to those in need of a safe space to stay beginning Saturday, September 9th. For more information or to reserve lodging, we invite you to contact our main office at (803) 532-3183.
No lodging rate will be charged, instead we simply ask guests to make a donation to this ministry if they feel so inclined.

Room for 75 – Pets need to be crated.
NovusWay Ministries – Camps
2049 Upper Laurel Drive, Arden, NC 28704

84 Camp Luther Road, Newland, NC 28657

342 McGinnis Road, Tallapoosa, GA 30176

These sites have opening. The are offering half-price accommodations or PAY WHAT YOU ARE ABLE.

Contact Angie Yates at 828-209-6328 or by email at ayates@novusway.com.
Holy Trinity, Pelion
168 Main Street, Pelion. (Near the intersection of Hwy. 178 and SC 302)

Will provide travelers who are evacuating hurricanes a place for restroom and refreshment breaks.
St Thomas, Chapin
215 St Thomas Church Road, Chapin, S.C. 29036

Able to support other congregations with meals for evacuees.
St. Paul, Aiken
961 Trail Ridge Rd, Aiken, SC 29803

Room for 20.
Our Savior Lutheran Church, West Columbia
1500 Sunset Blvd, West Columbia, SC 29169

Able to accommodate up to nine family’s, but people would need to bring a sleeping bag and pillow. They can help provide a gas equip kitchen as needed.
Redeemer Lutheran Church
525 St Andrews Rd, Columbia, SC 29210

Has futons, showers, and access to a kitchen
Redeemer, Newberry
1515 Boundary St, Newberry, SC 29108

Red Cross Center – Room for 25 – showers – pets okay.
Holy Communion, Spartanburg
1430 John B White Sr Blvd, Spartanburg, SC 29306

has 15,000 sf of space in its Gillespie Center with bathrooms and showers.
St. James, Summit
308 Church St, Leesville, SC 29070

Room for 25.
Good Shepherd, Swansea
295 W Lady St, Swansea, SC 29160

Room for 10.
St. John’s, Spartanburg
415 S Pine St, Spartanburg, SC 29302

Parish Life Center / Gym – Room for 25 with bathrooms, showers and kitchen.
Messiah, Baldwin
1100 Log Shoals Rd, Mauldin, SC 29662

Room for 50 – Red Cross Shelter – has bedding – no pets – one shower
Reformation, Columbia
1118 Union St, Columbia, SC 29201

Room for 25.
Mt. Tabor, West Columbia
1000 B Ave, West Columbia, SC 29169

Room for 25-50
Christ Mission, Columbia
1323 Winyah Dr., Columbia, South Carolina

Room for 10.


Most people who are evacuated or have trouble with their dwelling have no place to store items. Money allows for the flexibility to fill needs directly and as needed.

Plan an evacuation route

  • Know where to go.
  • If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. If emergency management officials tell you to leave town because of a hurricane threat, you should leave.
  • Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter and ask for the community hurricane preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest evacuation routes and nearby shelters. Learn safe routes inland. Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place.
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan to obtain adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.

Put together a go-bag

  • Your disaster supply kit should include a flashlight; a portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries; cash and credit cards; sturdy shoes; a first aid kit and manual; emergency food and water; a non-electric can opener; medications; and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate.

Make arrangements for pets

  • Pets might not be allowed into emergency shelters for health and space reasons. Contact your local animal protection/rescue group for information on local animal shelters in areas you might be staying.

Teach family members what to do

  • Make sure all family members know how to respond before, during and after a hurricane. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water. Teach children how and when to call 911, police or firefighters, and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan. Many communities have text or email alert systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search online using your town, city or county name and the word “alerts.”
  • In case family members are separated during a disaster – a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school – have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the “family contact.”

Protect your windows

  • Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2-inch plywood – marine plywood is best – cut to fit each window. Mark which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm. Trim dead or weak branches from trees to reduce the risk of their falling on your home.

Check into flood insurance

Prepare your church

Know what to give – and what not to give

  • In the wake of a hurricane, Lutheran Disaster Response will collect funds to help meet long-term needs of hurricane survivors. If we are hit directly here in South Carolina, our synod will also collect funds for more immediate needs throughout our state.
  • Assemble relief-supply kits

When there is no hurricane

Prayer and Worship


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