Walking With Minot
Mar 26, 2012A visit from Concordia is reminding Minot, N.D., residents that they are not alone. A student work team, college administrators and The Concordia Orchestra went to the community to offer a message of hope, healing and solidarity March 24-25.
The Rev. David Maxfield, pastor of Christ Lutheran, Minot, sees the blessings of the visit in many ways. His church was devastated by the flood in 2011, and Concordia's visit gave him time with his daughter Rachel '12, who has played in the orchestra for four years.
"As a pastor, to witness the enthusiasm and compassion of the students, the orchestra and the whole team that is coming through, it is really beyond words," he says.
Last fall, when Concordia representatives visited with Minot pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, they asked how they could support the community. Maxfield asked if one of the musical groups could come to Minot, and Concordia went beyond his expectations.
"All we did was plant a seed of a possibility," Maxfield says. "The faculty, students and administration have seen this and grown it into an amazing thing. I am so humbled by this response."
More than 30 students helped with cleaning at the flood-ravaged Roosevelt Park Zoo on March 24. Last fall, a Concordia team helped "muck out" a nearby home.
Brianna Johnson '14, a Minot-area native, worked on both trips and was grateful to see her classmates come together to help her hometown. She knows that the energy of the students has provided a much-needed boost in an exhausted town.
"It is such a long battle back for the area," she says. "It is a good feeling to know that there are so many hands that are helping Minot to come back."
On March 25, they worked with homeowners in cleaning and rebuilding efforts.
Administrators preached at four of the area ELCA churches affected by the flood. Some also served communion, spoke at Sunday School and shared meals with the congregants.
Each church was offered a financial gift - a combination of a freewill offering taken at the college's earlier Senior Honors Concert and the generosity of individual donors.
Their words let the congregations know that the Concordia community cares for them and admires their persevering spirit.
"We are so thankful for the example of faith and endurance that you set and continue to set," says President William Craft, who spoke at Bethany Lutheran's Sunday service.
The music of The Concordia Orchestra later that afternoon provided a joy and a lifting of spirits grown weary on the long road to recovery.
"During the flood in Minot, in a way, we lost a bit of our music," says the Rev. Mark Narum, bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod of the ELCA. “I thank the orchestra for bringing it back.”
Rachel Maxfield remembers how alone residents felt after the media spotlight and many disaster relief organizations moved away from Minot. She is so thankful to know that her hometown has not been forgotten.
"To know that after this long stretch, when we have become unnoticed, we are remembered still, is an absolute blessing," she says.