Today citizens of New York and New Jersey awakened to a still-desperate scene. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, power is still out in much of the city and many streets and tunnels are still flooded. Debris is being cleared. Some subways are still shut down. New Yorkers are beginning to look toward reconstruction, but many are still struggling to go about their daily lives. In the midst of the mess, many turn to their churches for stability, comfort, and guidance.
Armin Sommer, pastor of Grace Church in Netcong and Rockaway, New Jersey, said, "Sandy has devastated the area in many ways. Gas lines are a mile long. Most people are without power. We are a multi-site church (2 sites). One of our campuses is without power, so we have consolidated all our worship services to the other site."
New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, feels the combined weight of their members’ losses. Associate lead pastor, Rich Villodas, said, “Many of our members—particularly those in Long Island, Queens, New Jersey, Manhattan—have lost power for the last week. Some have lost their homes, and others have incurred significant property damage.”
New Life responded quickly. “We have spent the last few days making phone calls to check in on our members,” Villodas said.
Bruce Terrell, executive director at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, said, “We had to cancel two of our services last week, and we’re not sure about services this Sunday.” While Redeemer’s Downtown site is still without power, their East Side site has been converted into an evacuation shelter. “We are in contact with city officials, who told us the most urgent need presently is assistance in these evacuation shelters,” said Terrell.
But New Life Fellowship and Redeemer Presbyterian and other churches are still doing everything they can to aid the victims of this tragedy.