Pastor expresses gratitude by helping hurricane victims

December 12, 2005|by JANET HEIM

"We give thanks to God by sharing our gifts." That thought is inspiring Pastor Gerry Johnson of Trinity Lutheran Church in Smithsburg as he organizes a local effort to aid hurricane victims.

The Lutheran Churches of Washington County are collecting gift cards for Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe's to send to Peace Lutheran Church in Slidell, La. and Grace Lutheran Church in Gulf Shores, Ala. Both areas had extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Gift cards will be collected through Monday, Dec. 12, then delivered to the two churches.

Johnson said his congregation wanted to do something to help hurricane victims, but when he spoke with relief organizations such as the American Red Cross, they only thing they needed was monetary donations.


"There was really no way for us to connect," Johnson said.

When he spoke with the pastor at Grace Lutheran, Johnson was told they were in dire need of help. So Johnson is also organizing a mission trip to Grace Lutheran from January 30 to February 10, 2006.

"The gamut of what needs to be done is incredible," Johnson said.

Volunteers will drive down as a group, transporting donated supplies. They will help as needed, whether cleaning up or helping rebuild.

Accommodations will most likely be modest, with most volunteers sleeping in churches, Johnson said. All level of skills are needed.

"We'll bring smiling faces and an attitude of hope," Johnson said.

For more information, call Pastor Gerry Johnson at 301-824-7460 or e-mail him at

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