A Year After Tornado Strike, Christian Community in Joplin Offers Hope, Comfort

(Photo Credit:Godzillafirebox/Flickr)A photo from a residence in Joplin, Mo. is seen on May 22, 2012.

In Joplin, Mo, site of one of the worst tornado disasters in U.S. history just over a year ago, the Christian community has been offering spiritual care and coordinating volunteers with an aim to help the community meet its long term needs.

More than 161 people died on May 22, 2011 when a giant twister struck the town, the deadliest tornado since 1950.
Nevertheless, there are positives, according to a bishop in the region.

"Joplin is a place of hope and healing," Rev. Gerald L. Mansholt, bishop of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said in a statement. "It's a community where people have pulled together. The Christian community has been a great source of comfort and encouragement through their own witness and service and in helping the community of Joplin to rebuild.

While members of the denomination helped with prayers and financial support immediately after the disaster struck, some continue to help with long-term needs.

Peace Lutheran Church Rev. Katharine Redpath has been providing a pastoral presence.

"I've been at Peace Lutheran in recent months, leading worship and spending time with the congregation," Mansholt said. "And while they have a long way to go in discerning their future, whether or not to rebuild, hope remains," he said.

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