The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'I had lost my way and my mind in New York'

A church basement in Queens, N.Y., became a refuge for 60 international travelers stranded in New York after the terrorist strikes closed the airport and subway.

Travelers bound for flights from New York's JFK airport resorted to sleeping on the floor at the Howard Beach subway station after the airport closed and train service stopped.

As part of a community-wide response, St. Barnabas Lutheran Church, Howard Beach, welcomed stranded travelers. Local businesses donated food, and neighbors offered bedding to travelers from Scotland, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Poland, Egypt, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Guatemala, England, France, Japan, Ireland, Slovakia, Jamaica, South Africa and Italy. William Baum, pastor, called the outpouring of hospitality "remarkable."

As air travel resumed, the church began to receive letters from its guests. Tadatsugo Osawa wrote in a letter from Japan, "I got home safely [on] Sept. 16. I will never forget your kindness and your big warm heart. I think if you guys wouldn't support me, I had lost my way and my mind in New Yor


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February issue


Embracing diversity