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A message to the diocese after Hurricane Sandy

A tree downed by Hurricane Sandy. ELAINE BENNETT PHOTO

Our state has sustained enormous devastation through the violence of Hurricane Sandy. As of 2 pm on October 31, we have heard of no injuries to any of our members. So many of our churches and homes are without power – but not one of our churches has experienced significant damage. There are reports of fallen limbs, shingles blown off the roof – and several broken windows. The tree in the center of the memorial garden at St. Mary’s Sparta was uprooted. All Saints Hoboken has experienced no damage, but their Jubilee Center, a three story building located in the west side of the city, was at one point under five feet of water. The Jersey City and Bayonne churches all seem to have weathered the storm.

Our diocesan disaster coordinator, the Rev. Deacon Chris McCloud, and I are in conversation with Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), which is prepared to provide resources to places that need it. Given that power will be out for several days to come and that car travel is still a challenge, we are coordinating with ERD to provide extra food resources to food pantries that will experience an increased demand. Several of our churches that have electrical power have opened their doors to the community for coffee and conversation; and have literally provided outlets for the recharging of electronic devices. Many congregations with power are hosting pot luck suppers.

We can give thanks that the devastation has not been worse. At least here. But as we have seen and heard, the southern part of the state – and across the tri-state area, have been hit with a crippling blow. We can offer our support – and our prayers. And our resources. Contributions can be made to Episcopal Relief and Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, Va. 22116, memo Hurricane Sandy.

Many of us may be without power for awhile. We can pray for patience as we await its return, and also be reminded that the electrical power that we lack – while inconvenient, frustrating and challenging, is but a candle compared to the enormous light of power that comes through the hope and peace of the living Christ.


We talk a lot about the importance of community - that the church is not the building but the people. How wonderful to see that this is not lip service in the Diocese of Newark I know and love. I look forward to more stories about those of our members who are first responders, health care providers, social workers, police, fire and ambulance personnel who are doing countless (often, thankless) acts of corporal works of mercy. These are the images of the Incarnation. These are the signs and symbols of the Resurrection. They are why, even in the midst of the aftermath of a Hurricane, we can say, "Alleluia".

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