Lynn Bates, the Diocese of Vermont’s Canon to the Ordinary and Transition Minister, wrote the following letter that was posted on the Diocesan Webpage and on the website of Christ Church, Montpelier:
Written by Lynn Bates, Canon to the Ordinary and Transition Minister
Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
Thank you to those who have been in touch – news and reports continue to come in and I will continue to share information with you all as I am able. My note yesterday went to clergy serving congregations and the senior wardens of congregations currently without clergy partnership. I am expanding the list today to include all diocesan clergy, senior wardens, and other diocesan leadership as expressions of concern are coming from throughout our diocesan community. If you haven’t already, this would be a good time to join our online community at www.diovermont.org to share information, thoughts and prayers. Currently, there aren’t a lot of members there, but having that resource available and using it now will go a long way to keeping us connected and informed about ways we can help each other and the people in our communities.
Below is a list of congregations about which I have information – I will add more as I receive it and send it along to you. I am adding pictures of Gethsemane Church in Proctorsville to their page on the website. It seems, so far, their buildings have suffered the most damage and there is significant damage in the community. While it seems many of our church buildings are intact, there are many, many people in our congregations and communities with significant property damage and/or stranded by wash-out roads.
We are receiving messages of concern and thoughts and prayers from throughout The Episcopal Church, including from our Presiding Bishop and Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire.
Episcopal Relief and Development has been in contact and is standing by with their disaster response programs – to help our congregations help those who are most vulnerable in their communities (expanding soup kitchens and the like). At least for now, I will serve as the Diocesan Contact person with ER&D although you are welcome to contact them directly (just let me know). You will find lots of information on their website (www.er-d.org) as well.
With the destruction in the central/southern part of the diocese, many have asked about +Tom and Ann. They – and their property – are fine. They are on vacation through the end of this week, although Tom is staying in very close touch and monitoring all reports coming in.
St. James, Arlington
In Arlington, we did not receive any water damage at the St. James or the Rectory. Many roads were closed Sunday and Monday and some are still impassable today but efforts are underway to get us up and running again as soon as possible. A couple of our parishioners were evacuate from their homes along the Battenkill and suffered water in their basements but returned home yesterday to begin the clean up. One family from the parish was unable to return home after church Sunday as the bridge to their road had been washed away. They are still unable to return home and are staying with another parishioner.
St. Peter’s Church, Bennington
St Peter’s Bennington’s backyard is on the Waloomsac River, but it stayed about 6″ below the top of the wall. The other major water course that comes down from the mountains east cut the bridge on Route 9 towards Wilmington and flooded sections on the north side of town. Several members spent time sandbagging homes or were forced to evacuate their residences. Voluntary water use reduction is in effect as the water main from the principle source for the town’s water was part of the bridge on Route 9. The major food supermarkets were closed today due to flooding.
St. Thomas and Grace, Brandon
The culvert under the town at the waterfall blocked and Brandon’s main road through town became a torrential river from about 4-9:30. Today it is a mess of sink holes and closed. The church and rectory are one boarder of the flood damaged area which appears not to have touched our buildings at all. Not a drop of water inside. Everyone in the town has been down to have a look. St Thomas’ front lawn has not had so many visitors ever I don’t think. This part of Route 7 will not be opened it quite some time I’m told by police. Route 73 to East and to West are both closed. We will be praying and doing what we can.
St. Michael’s, Brattleboro
Word on Brattleboro from Diocesan Companion, Jean Smith – they are trying to get info on parishioners—some were evacuated with only a few minutes (5) warning and there is much trauma and shock and some houses damaged ; church property is OK; many still without power, roads washed out so inaccessible, etc.—very difficult to get info and use communications.
Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington
From the Cathedral Dean: Burlington seems to have escaped the storm which has severely struck southern and central Vermont. The pictures and stories are dramatic and heartrending. The Cathedral, besides our usual leaks in skylights, windows and roofs, seems to be ‘no worse for wear’. We will remember others in Vermont this Sunday. Let us know if we can be helpful in any way. Be well.
St. Mark’s – St. Luke’s, Castleton – Fair Haven
Thankfully St. Mark’s – St. Luke’s are untouched by the storm!
Our Saviour, Killington
No direct word yet, but it appears from Route 4 that all the buildings remain intact.
Christ Church, Montpelier
We at Christ Church were spared major damage. We only had 2-3 inches of water in the lower areas of the church. This even as the Winooski River crested last night at 19 feet, 1 1/2 feet higher than the crest in May when we suffered significant flooding damage. Montpelier also came through very well due in large measure to pre-planning and the vagaries of nature. I am not aware of any parishioners who suffered damage.
From The Rev. Richard Bower: I imagine that you have too many reports of church building damages this weekend, but I wanted you know about Gethsemane. The Parish Hall is a pile of wood scraps. The church building is standing, but the foundation has been severely compromised. I think that the basic wood structure can be saved, but will need some repairs and a new foundation. Happily we are will covered by insurance including flood insurance. The neighborhood where this church is is a sad site, with homes and small businesses heavily damaged or destroyed. We ask for your prayers.
Grace, Sheldon came through the storm well, and we are all healthy.
St. Ann’s, Richford
From the exterior, all seems to be well.
Trinity/Shelburne is fine and the Route 7 area I travel (from North Ferrisburgh area to Shelburne) only showed minor tree damage here and there.
All Saints, S. Burlington
In South Burlington we did not have water in the undercroft this time, which was considerable in the spring flooding.
St. Paul’s, White River Junction
St. Paul’s in White River Junction suffered no damage. The Upper Valley was really hard hit, however. One parish family’s bridge to their home washed out and so are pretty stranded. As is another parishioner. The latter’s office building in Quechee had extensive water damage and so she is using church space for now for her counseling practice. All parishioners are safe. Many in our area have had devastating losses so we are now trying to figure out how best to reach out to them with assistance.
St. James, Woodstock
As to the flooding in Woodstock: The church was spared. We called the junior warden this morning, catching him just before he was to head over there to check things out (He tried to get there yesterday afternoon, but the road was blocked). He reported back that there was no damage to the church other than the leakage we already have from time to time in the kitchen area in the basement. Individual parishioners, however, have been affected by the flooding of the Ottauquechee, and we are trying to ascertain just how widespread those effects might have been.