The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Helping in hurricane's aftermath

Just when things seemed hopeless, people showed up

No sooner had Sandy flooded coastal New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in October than a deluge of support flowed in for affected churches. 

St. Barnabas Lutheran in the Howard Beach section of Queens, New York City, was one recipient of relief, and among five churches in the Metropolitan New York Synodseverely damaged. 

Taking water in the basement and first floor, St. Barnabas lost its parish hall and historical records. 

"I told the congregation, which is always there for others, to think of themselves now as the people who have to be on the receiving end," said William Baum, pastor, who was doubly affected by the storm. A resident of lower Manhattan, where the power was out for more than a week, he found it difficult to check on members from a blackened apartment and a church he couldn't enter: "It's hard to call members when your phone is out." 

Everyone in the congregation of about 100 families was eventually accounted for, but Baum found them exhausted, distraught and reeling from 14 days without power and heat. After Thanksgiving weekend the church was still without heat.

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