Sandy’s Opportunities for Shalom

Supper Storm Sandy (AKA the “Hurricane from Hell”), rammed the Eastern seaboard yesterday and wrecked havoc and destruction: 

  • Multiple communities in15 States under seige 
  • At least 7,500 households without power
  • Current Death toll:  29 in US
  • 7 tunnels flooded in NYC subway system
  • 80 homes burned to ground in Queens
  • New York Stock Exchanged flooded
  • Regional Airports closed
  • 7000 flights cancelled

My hastily booked flight from Newark to San Diego on Sunday morning was one of the many Westbound flights canceled.  But I finally made it safely home last night after taking the first available flight anywhere West of the Mississippi. I’m afflicted by “survivor’s guilt” having missed the hurricane from hell (and my typical MO is to be present to such crisis moments).  

My heart fears for friends, staff, students, and colleagues in NJ, NY and especially the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting that may suffer the most.

Drew University is closed and campus residences were evacuated on Sunday.  The Shalom Resource Center at Drew remains closed today.  Shalom staff members are hunkered down but rleatively safe and actively engaged in seeking shalom in the place where they are.
Dean Jeffrey Kuan lives near Drew campus and is in constant contact with Drew faculty, staff and students—whether they have been evacuated or are tying to remain in their campus residences:  on his Facebook Sunday night:  Two loud noises,  then no power.  Bracked for the worst….”  The entire University was closed on Sunday, power is out and many trees are down. We hope to reopen next week.
Fr. Paul Birgiwa, who oversees shalom ministry in Western Uganda, managed to fly out of JFK to Uganda before the storm hit.  Minister of Shalom Copeland Nkhata is stuck in the USA and can’t get home to Malawi:  “I deplore the situation of the storm and how it has disturbed flight schedules and everything. I am homesick and wish to fly out ASAP.  Many thanks for your care and concern… ” 
Dale Wilden, President of Ocean Grove Camp Meeting and friend of Shalom anticipated the worst in his Prayer Alert” email on Sunday night:  “There are yet two high tides that must be passed before the worst will be over.  Our township clerk and local meteorologist predicted flooding to exceed historical benchmarks and ‘complete destruction of the Ocean Grove pier, pavilion, and boardwalk.”
Storm rammed OG/Asbury Park beachfront last night:  Power out, old trees and power lines down everywhere, boardwalk damaged, first floor of some restaurants near ocean flooded and destroyed.
Nancy Vanderveen, friend of Shalom, reports:  “Unfortunately, we are not faring well here in Sparta. We had two huge trees fall together, crashing through our living room skylight, ripping off siding and gutters, plus causing structural damage.  We have removed all furniture and put tarps and towels down.  Power is out.  As a trained ERT for disaster relief for UMCOR, I have been notified that we will be called out, and am awaiting word where to go. Will keep you posted and pray that you and yours remain safe.
United Methodists and others of good will are on hand in many devastated communities on the East Coast to assist those in need and plan for rebuilding.  United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is on the move. Shalom, too, is on the loose. Lets all do what we can, from near or far, to support relief and development. Donate to UMCOR US Disaster Response, Advance #901670, and select Hurricanes 2012 from the drop-down menu. You can also text the word RESPONSE to 80888 to give an immediate $10 donation. Please help. 100% of our donations to UMCOR will go to this effort. Communities of Shalom will coordinate its efforts with UMCOR.
Associate Director of Communities of Shalom, Annie Allen, who lives 30 miles north of Madison in the high country, is safe for now, but prayerfully engaged with our shalom leaders in many sites, sees the devastation through the eyes of faith: “No power. Intermittent cell service.  No fallen trees.  No worries.  Stocked with supplies and hunkered down. We worship the God of heavens and earth, the seas and the wind.  Shalom!”

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