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Sinkhole threatens to swallow Christmas

Sinkhole threatens to swallow Christmas

Members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, PA were surprised yesterday by news that a sinkhole may have swallowed up their Christmas festivities.


In a Facebook post, their Rector, The Rev. Laura Thomas Howell wrote;

“I came to church today to discover that the street is shut down because another sinkhole has been discovered. It is much too soon to know how large it is or what the repercussions will be. What we do know is that the building must be closed: there is not water, no sewer and shortly they may have to shut off the gas.

Once an all-clear is given (I am optimistic!) this area will be under a boil-water edict for 48 hours. Which means we will still need to be closed.”


In a later update, Howell seemed to suggest they were taking the news in stride;

“We are comforted by the knowledge that the first Christmas was probably pretty stressful and confusing. This is small compared to that one!

I couldn’t get near the hole itself because the folks from the gas company are running tests and excavating. It has been confirmed that it’s caused by an 8″ water main break.


Whether or not Christmas services will be held is still up in the air as local crews examine the damage from the broken water line.  Also in jeopardy is the Soup Kitchen Christmas Party which is (was?) scheduled for Monday.  Church leaders were in touch with the city supervisors who have promised to keep the church up-to-date as more information becomes available.


Howell closed out her message to parishioners with this prayer request.

“Most important!!! No one has been injured!! A prayer for the safety of lives and property in this area would be most welcome. A prayer for the Soup Kitchen guests who will have no lunches the next three days would be most welcome. And a prayer that this turns out to be minor, so we can at least have Christmas services here would be most welcome of all!”


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The Rev. Laura Howell, Obl.S.B.

Many thanks for sharing the news! We now have heat, water and sewer back. If there are no more setbacks (there was a second sinkhole this morning), we should be back for Sunday services. With the big Soup Kitchen Christmas Dinner and Party with Santa to be held on the third Day of Christmas (Wednesday), three french hens permitting. Joy to everyone! And prayers for all who are still struggling.

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