Local church adopts Hurricane Katrina victims

By Tim Scordato

Hurricane Katrina has brought donations and relief from all walks of life and the Progressive Clergy Association is no exception.

The First Congregational United Church of Christ, 615 N. First St., in support of the Progressive Clergy Association, plans to financially and spiritually adopt members of two families who moved to Travel Lodge, 1116 W. Lincoln Highway, to escape the disasters of Hurricane Katrina.

The association must enforce the “church’s sense of social responsibility,” said Rev. Joe Gastiger of First Congregational United Church of Christ.

The association also is asking for the support of local organizations, such as college fraternities and sororities to donate time or funds, Moore said.

The association said its responsibility is to press the media to cover such public service organizations as the Hope Haven homeless shelter which is housing Katrina victims.

The shelter raised $300 for the victims Sept. 11 at a barbecue fundraiser and hopes to raise more at the next three fundraisers on at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 and 9 at Hope Haven, said Rev. Bill Landis of Sycamore United Methodist Church, 160 Johnson Ave.

DeKalb must become the solution, said the Rev. Won Ho Kim of Presbyterian Church USA.

Beyond that, the city must make sacrifices instead of looking for others to sacrifice, said Rev. Jane Ann Moore of the First Congregational United Church of Christ.

The city can take the millions of dollars being spent to connect Interstate 88 to Interstate 80 and use it for Katrina victim relief, Moore said.

“We can’t find God if we are not in relation with the human community,” Kim said.

The Rev. Rita Root helped form the association in response to the last presidential elections.

After last fall’s presidential election polls stated many voters based their votes on moral values, Root said. Those values did not include rights for all people such as homosexual couples, and the association felt the need to represent Christians in the support of such rights.

The association is composed of diverse clergy members coming from Methodist to Presbyterian to Unitarian backgrounds in hopes of combining personal and systemic responsibilities to serve those who are in need, said the retired Rev. William Moore of the First Congregational United Church of Christ.