RCWS: Flooded Churches Need Help
Following Hurricane Irene's landfall over the weekend, flooding has devastated homes and churches along the East Coast.
In Prattsville, New York, four to five feet of water swept through Reformed Dutch Church, carrying away the piano and organ and leaving behind seven to eight inches of mud. The back of the church's fellowship hall is gone, with just a sinkhole remaining. The parsonage was severely damaged, as well.
Residents of Schoharie, New York, have not been able to return home following an emergency evacuation on Sunday. The floodwaters reached Schoharie Reformed Church's sanctuary and completely filled a basement fellowship hall. The homes of many church members, including the pastors, were flooded.
South Branch Reformed Church in Hillsborough, New Jersey, had five to six feet of water and mud in the lower level of the church. A number of other New Jersey churches also suffered flood damage, including nearby Hillsborough Reformed Church, Griggstown Reformed Church in Princeton, Harlingen Reformed Church in Belle Mead, Lebanon Reformed Church, North Branch Reformed Church in Bridgewater, Rockaway Reformed Church in Whitehouse Station, and The Church in Brielle. Other impacted churches include DeWitt Reformed Church in New York City; Jay Gould Memorial Reformed Church in Roxbury, New York; Middleburgh Reformed Church in New York; North & Southampton Reformed Church in Churchville, Pennsylvania; and St. Croix Reformed Church in Kingshill, Virgin Islands.
In these communities, many homes have been damaged or destroyed—homes belonging to pastors, church members, and others.
Reformed Church World Service is working with regional synods in the affected areas to assess the scope of the damage and determine how to respond to the needs of the impacted churches. RCWS is in contact with many partners, including the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Church World Service, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, ELCA Disaster Service, and UCC Disaster Ministries, to evaluate the possibility of joint response efforts.
How You Can Help
- Pray for the people who were impacted by Hurricane Irene and have experienced significant loss.
- Provide financial support for the congregations in distress. An account has been set up at Reformed Church World Service exclusively for this purpose. Click the "Make a Donation" button or mail a check, designated "U.S. Hurricane" to the Reformed Church in America, Attn: Finance Department, 4500 60th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512, or, in Canada, to 201 Paradise Rd. N., Hamilton, ON L8S 3T3.
- Share about the flooding during Sunday worship. Include a paragraph in your church bulletin (PDF), use a litany during the service (PDF), or remember people impacted by the flooding during prayer time.
- Volunteer groups may be needed in the future to help repair and rebuild damaged churches, but it is too soon to know specific needs. The synod offices and the RCA Mission Volunteer Program will continue to assess needs and will communicate opportunities when more information is available.