Area Churches Provide Aid and Comfort to Katrina Victims

Congregations across the country have mounted huge humanitarian efforts to collect money, food and clothing for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

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Churches in Houston have been taking part in feeding and housing thousands of evacuees. Ministers have had to tackle questions like "Where was God when the hurricane struck?" Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston's Windsor Village United Methodist Church gathered his thoughts all week for his first post-Katrina sermon.

Before he preached Sunday, Reverend Caldwell said human failings were behind the years of political indecision about reinforcing the levees. He disagreed with criticism that federal relief arrived too slowly.

Louisiana has historically ranked below most states in education level and poverty. Reverend Caldwell said the government's real challenge will be to help people get back on their feet over the coming weeks and months.

On the first Sunday after the hurricane, Reverend Caldwell's congregation included evacuees from New Orleans. Caldwell told the hurricane survivors God will use them to reach out to others.

Religious congregations in Houston have been organizing to feed, house and counsel thousands of evacuees. Houston's Roman Catholic Archbishop joined a Muslim cleric, a Rabbi, and a leading Baptist minister for brief visits on Sunday with evacuees in the Astrodome and other shelters.

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