A tornado swept through Delmont, SD yesterday and destroyed the church building of Zion Lutheran Church. I know Pastor Brian Bucklew, the pastor there well (from seminary days and after, I had the honor of preaching at his ordination) who is a faithful shepherd to his sheep. No one was killed by the storm. It seems that not only was the church destroyed, the parsonage and a number of parishioners homes were also destroyed or severely damaged. This congregation is a part of a dual parish with Emmaus Lutheran Church in Tripp, SD.
See pictures of the damage here.
Pr. Bucklew posted this right away on Facebook (he was on vacation when the storm hit).
The church BUILDING of Zion Delmont, SD, is pretty much gone, but the LIVING members are ok.
Our Sunday school kids all in the basement of the church made it halfway through the Lord’s Prayer and then the storm was over and they are all safe.
I am told the altar is still standing and the baptismal font except for the cover, has been salvaged. We are in Little Rock, AR. We will be heading back to Delmont tomorrow after the storms moving this way clear out. The roof of our house is pretty much half or more gone. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of The Lord! In Christ we have lost nothing. We had the Lord’s Supper minutes after hearing about all this. Christ is with us and we fear no evil.
When I contacted Synod about this, they were already on it, sending both Pr. Ross Johnson (Director of LCMS Disaster Response) and Pr. Michael Meyer (Manager of LCMS Disaster Response) to assess and help. Thanks be to God for their good and timely work.
The LCMS reporter article for this can be found here.
I just talked with Pr. Bucklew and he and his family are almost to their temporary lodgings. Work crews already worked hard to salvage much of their belongings and have also recovered some of the congregation’s property. Thank you to the work crews who helped start the clean up and giving an example of that positive side of the Seventh Commandment (help him improve and protect his possessions and income).
Here is what they could use:
Prayers. This time has been traumatic to say the least upon the life of the congregation, its pastor, and his family.
Donations are also welcome. To donate you can click here or call the South Dakota District of the LCMS about donation options (605) 361-1514.
When I visited this congregation on the occasion of the ordination of its pastor, I took note of something – right above the entrance to the church building there was (in German) a saying that CFW Walther liked to use (it was the slogan for Der Lutheraner, the theological paper of the LCMS meant for laity):
“God’s Word and Luther’s Doctrine pure shall to eternity endure”
True, the building is gone, but as the congregation gathers this Thursday night on the occasion of the feast of the Ascension of our Lord, they will hear from their pastor the eternal truth of God’s Word and Luther’s Doctrine (which really isn’t his but Christ’s). May such pure Gospel bring comfort to all the hearers of Delmont and Tripp.
Stay tuned as there likely will be more information on ways to help in the coming days and weeks.
Updated giving info courtesy of Pr. Nabil Nour, the regional VP and a pastor in the same circuit:
The message is from the SD District President Pastor Sattgast.
Delmont Relief Fund: The church building and parsonage of Zion Lutheran Church in Delmont were destroyed by a tornado on Mothers’ Day, Sunday May 10th. In addition, the homes of five of Zion’s families were either destroyed or damaged by the storm. Miraculously, no lives were lost. Rather than sending donations directly to Zion, a fund has been established at The South Dakota District Office to receive donations to assist with relief efforts.Donations should be sent to: The South Dakota District, LCMS, P.O. Box 89110, Sioux Falls, SD 57109. Checks should be made out to: The South Dakota District LCMS and earmarked: “Delmont Relief Fund.” Thank you for your assistance.