Recovery Efforts Continue in Flood-Devastated RCA Churches

Northeastern flood damage estimated more than $1 million, volunteers, donations needed

November 2, 2011


Hurricanes Irene and Lee may be a distant memory for much of the U.S. and Canada, but for the members of many churches and communities in upstate New York and New Jersey that were devastated by record-setting floodwaters, rain, and storm damage, the process of rebuilding their lives is still a daily reality.

Three churches in the Classis of Schoharie in New York are still engaged in the hard work of removing debris and mold and coping with structural issues caused by flooding. Flood Damage New challenges seem to emerge regularly in the battle to get things back to normal. The same is true for some hard-hit New Jersey churches. It will take months or even years for these congregations to recover from the wall of water that devastated communities; tossed pews, pianos, and commercial-grade ovens around like matchsticks; washed belongings away; moved houses off their foundations; and tore large chunks out of church buildings.

Even congregations that had only a few feet of water flowing through their buildings have found the resulting damage and repairs to be more extensive than they anticipated, especially if mold has developed. Most of the affected churches have been placed in a tough financial situation, as their insurance policies either don't cover flood damage or will only cover a small fraction of their clean up and repair costs.

The cost of clean up and immediate repair for the most severely affected RCA churches is estimated at more than $1 million. Flood Damage This does not include the cost of repairing parsonages or community ministries, or clean up and repairs to severely damaged homes of RCA pastors and church members.

Church members from the devastated areas express their deep gratitude for the prayers offered all around North America on their behalf, for the outpouring of sympathy they have received, and for brothers and sisters in Christ who have volunteered to help clean up debris and mud and help with repairs and future rebuilding efforts.

Donations have started to trickle in, but to date (Oct. 25) only $74,000 has been collected. Please prayerfully consider how you and your congregation can help.

How You Can Help

  • Continue to pray for the people who were impacted by these floods and have experienced significant loss.

  • Provide financial support for the congregations in distress. Click to donate An account has been set up at Reformed Church World Service exclusively for this purpose. Click the "Make a Donation" link below (U.S. only), or mail a check, designated "U.S. Hurricane," to Reformed Church in America, Attn: Finance Department, 4500 60th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512, or, in Canada, to Regional Synod of Canada, 201 Paradise Rd. N., Hamilton, ON L8S 3T3.

  • Continue to share about the flooding during Sunday worship. Include a paragraph in your church bulletin, or remember those impacted by the flooding during prayer time.

  • The RCA's Mission Volunteer Program is working closely with Paul Nulton, volunteer coordinator for the Synods of New York and the Mid-Atlantics, to coordinate a long-range volunteer response; individuals and work groups will be needed from late fall through next summer. To sign up, contact Nancy Ellens at nellens@rca.org or (616) 698-7071, ext. 243, or Paul Nulton at pnulton@warwickconferencecenter.org or (845) 598-1407.

     

    Related Links:

    Make a Donation

    Ways to Respond

    50 Things You Can Do To Help Flood Survivors

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