Florida-Bahamas Synod – Sept. 7, 2017

Dear Members of the Body of Christ in the Florida-Bahamas Synod,

As we continue to watch the track of Hurricane Irma, we are being surrounded by prayers and support from throughout the ELCA. The synod office has received numerous calls and messages from synod staff, pastors, and bishops throughout the church who are holding us and our companion churches in prayer in these days. Many congregations are ready to respond and support those affected by Hurricane Irma however they can.

Specifically, the Southeast Synod will be providing us a list of congregations in the areas around Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL and Nashville, TN who are willing to host those who may need to evacuate. That list will be shared on the home page of the Florida-Bahamas synod web site and on our Facebook page as it becomes available. We give thanks for our community in Christ who are surrounding us with prayer and support.

Assistant to the Bishop Michele Hilton has been on conference calls with the Florida VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters)– all state, federal, inter-faith and non-profit agencies are as deployed and prepared as they can be. She has also been in good communication with Lutheran Disaster Response in Chicago. They are ready to support us however we need it, and we are already coordinating a joint prayer service between the chapel in the Synod House and the chapel in the ELCA Churchwide office in Chicago for the days ahead. We will share information about that as it becomes available.

It looks like Hurricane Irma will most directly impact Florida on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Synod House will be CLOSED on Monday. Synod staff will remain available throughout the weekend. Michele Hilton can be contacted directly at 941.373.5596.

As per our disaster response plan, pastors will be sharing specific information about the impact of the storm in their area with Conference Deans, who will then share that information with the synod staff. Conference Deans will be actively connecting with pastors throughout the weekend.

A donation link has been set up on the home page of the synod web site. Donations made to the synod-wide disaster response fund are used 100% for needs caused by disasters. This is also the fund through which we can support our companion churches who may be impacted. Designated donations to “Hurricane Irma disaster response” can be mailed to the synod office (3838 W. Cypress St, Tampa, FL 33607). More information about donations is available on the web site.

Please stay attentive to information from local agencies regarding conditions and plans for your area.

Many congregations are cancelling worship and other events this weekend. Pay close attention to information coming from your congregational leadership. A Liturgy in the Time of Storm service has been created for those who may want to gather with family and friends during this storm.

As the body of Christ, we stand together in times of joy and in times of struggle. This weekend, know that you are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who are praying for and supporting you. As Saint Paul writes, “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Schedule Changes Due to Hurricane Irma

Dear Hope family,

Due to the timing and uncertain track of Hurricane Irma, and for the safety of our Hope family, your leadership team has cancelled worship services for this Sunday, September 10, 2017.  Our Saturday services will take place as scheduled at 4pm (contemporary) & 6pm (traditional) this Saturday, September 9, 2017. If you usually attend on Sunday, please consider worshipping with us at one of the Saturday services.

The church offices will be CLOSED on Monday, September 11 and will reopen on Tuesday morning, September 12.

Our weekly Social Supper scheduled for Wednesday, September 13, has been cancelled due to difficulty in scheduling our food delivery.

Our website www.hope2all.org and our Facebook page @HopeLutheranVillages will be updated with the most current information as we have it. We will also provide updates via this email service.

If you need assistance during the storm or have a pastoral care emergency when the church office is closed, please call 352-978-4593.

In these moments of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety, let us pray together this prayer from the ELCA webpage:

Loving God, be with those who endure wildfires, hurricanes and floods. Protect those in the path of danger. Open pathways for evacuations. Help loved ones find one another in the chaos. Provide assistance to those who need help. Let your love be known through those who work to bring order. Help us to shoulder the burden of suffering and make us bearers of hope in Jesus Christ. Amen.

May the peace of Christ guard your hearts and minds this weekend!

Val Neuhart
Business Administrator

Florida-Bahamas Synod – Sept. 6, 2017

Dear Members of the Body of Christ in the Florida-Bahamas Synod,


Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus who promises to be with us always, even to the close of the age (Matthew 28:20).

As I write this letter, Governor Scott has closed all schools in Florida for this Thursday and Friday and initiated orderly evacuation of Monroe County, with other counties to follow. Florida and the Caribbean are facing the strongest storm on record in Hurricane Irma. Please follow the instructions of local and state officials about the storm in your area. If your facilities are a possible shelter, thank you for working with your leadership to make necessary preparations.

Weather forecasters continue to update their warnings concerning the strength and potential impact of Hurricane Irma on Florida. Hurricane Harvey provides a sufficient illustration of the need to be attentive to these warnings. I would plead with all those who are a part of this synod to take the necessary steps now to maximize the probability of your safety and that of those who are close to you (see the state website http://flgetaplan.com). As you do so, be attentive to those who are particularly vulnerable for one reason or another and who might need a helping hand. In such moments of stress and anxiety, we pray that the Holy Spirit will enable us to see Christ in the face of others and that others may see Christ in us as we respond to this time of stress and potential danger.

I am grateful for the leadership of Assistant to the Bishop for Administration Michele Hilton who is coordinating the Synod Disaster Response. She, in collaboration with Sister Michelle Collins, will continue their good work of gathering information and providing guidance related to personnel and congregations in this synod through Facebook, emails and the synod web site. You can find the full synod-wide disaster response plan here. Pastors, please communicate with your Conference Deans with respect to what is transpiring within your own context. The ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response Team already has been in conversation with our Disaster Response Team. As the next days unfold, let us know where we can be helpful.

Know that many throughout this church are praying for you, for residents of Florida and the Bahamas, and particularly for those who are a part of this synod. We invite your prayers for the Caribbean Synod and its Bishop Felipe Lozada, as that area is even now being impacted by the hurricane. I have received communication from a number of bishops who have assured us of their prayers and those of their synod. It is good to be church together in these times.

A Prayer:

Gracious Lord Jesus who in the midst of the storm cried out, “Peace, be still!”, we pray for the calming of Hurricane Irma and for the protection of all who are in danger. We pray for those who will place their own lives at risk for the sake of others who are in need. We pray for all in leadership positions in our communities, cities, states and nation that they may demonstrate courage and compassion as they seek to fulfill their responsibilities of providing care for those who seek guidance and relief. And, O Lord, in the midst of our own fears, by your Holy Spirit, grant us the gifts of faith, hope, and love and enfold us in your peace. Amen.

May the peace of Christ, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds this week.

Together with you in Christ,
Bishop Marcus C. Lohrmann

Hurricane Shelters


In the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster and your need to evacuate to a special needs shelter, YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER PRIOR BEFORE GOING TO THE SHELTER.

To Register in SUMTER COUNTY Contact:

Sumter County Emergency Management
7375 Powell Road
Wildwood, FL 34785

Web Site:


To Register in LAKE COUNTY:

Lake County Emergency Management
315 W. Main St.
Tavares, FL 32778

Web Site:

Lake County Special Needs Form:

To Register in MARION COUNTY:

Marion County Emergency Management
692 NW 30th Ave.
Ocala, FL 34475

Web Site:


Marion County Special Needs Form:


General Information: Florida Special Need Registry Help Desk

Phone: 800-374-9689
TTY: 800-395-1878
Email: FLSNRsupport@deltaone.com


Sumter County Emergency Management – 352-6894400


Sumter County General Population Shelters:

  • Webster Elementary School, 349 S Market Blvd. SR 471, Webster, FL 33597
  • Sumter Fairgrounds, 7620 SR 471, Webster, FL 33513 Pet-friendly shelter. All pets must be crated.
  • Wildwood Elementary School, 300 Huey Street, Wildwood, FL 34785
  • Center Hill Recreation Center, 74 S. Virginia Avenue, Center Hill, FL 33514
  • South Sumter High School, 706 N. Main St., SR 475, Bushnell, FL 33513

Lake County Emergency Management – 352-343-9420


Lake County General Population Shelters:

  • Leesburg Elementary, 2229 South St., Leesburg
  • Lost Lake Elementary, 1901 Johns Lake Road, Clermont
  • Round Lake Elementary, 31333 Round Lake Road, Mount Dora
  • Treadway Elementary, 10619 Treadway School Road, Leesburg
  • Umatilla Elementary, 401 Lake St., Umatilla
  • Villages Elementary, 695 Rolling Acres Road, Lady Lake

Marion County Emergency Management – 352-732-8181


Marion County General Population Shelters:

  • Belleview Middle School, 10500 S.E. 36th Ave., Belleview
  • Lake Weir High School, 10351 S.E. Maricamp Road, Ocala
  • Vanguard High School, Pets, 7 N.W. 28th St. Ocala

Jesus Christ is our Pilot

Our life is like the sailing of a ship. Just as the mariners of a shop have before them a haven toward which they direct their course, and where they will be secure from all danger, so do we have the promise of everlasting life as a haven for which we set our course and in which we may rest calm and secure. But seeing our ship is weak, and that the winds and waves beat upon us as though they would dash and overwhelm us, we have need of a good and experienced pilot, who by his counsel and advice and skill may rule and govern the vessel so that it not run upon the rocks, nor utterly sink and go down. Such a pilot is our blessed Savior Christ Jesus.

-Martin Luther