Over the long Memorial Day weekend, a great group of young men and women from Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Cambridge MA came to New York City to help Ascension Church in Forest Hills with continuing Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.
Unfortunately, there is a misconception that New York City has fully recovered from the hurricane. As you will see in the following pictures and video, this is far from being true. The church and home that we worked on are representative of hundreds, if not thousands, of similar homes and buildings that have not been repaired yet. From the outside, everything looks fine, but the inside tells another story.
We hope you will enjoy this blog post. If you would like to come help us in our work in helping in the recovery efforts, please let us know.
Click on the above photo to see a video of the team from Cambridge MA working alongside members of Ascension Church in Forest Hills and residents of Broad Channel.
Don’t miss looking at the great photos below after watching the video!!!!
(thanks to Tyler Holley & Greg Howard for contributing many of these photos)
The skyline of NYC seen from the shoreline of Jamaica Bay in Broad Channel.
As can be seen here, there are still many houses in Broad Channel that need repair.
I think the one on the right might be too big a project for our team!
The team from Cambridge MA with David and Pastor Stephen
The following photos show the team helping repair Christ Presbyterian Church by the Sea in Broad Channel.
Getting suited up in protective gear — disposable coveralls, respirators, goggles, and gloves.
Paul, one of the Cambridge group’s leaders, was easily recognizable by his glasses. All the rest were identified by their shoes.
Few know that Paul is thinking about auditioning for the role of Bane in the next Batman movie
Alexandra, the daughter of Ascension Church’s pastor and wife, Michael and Roseann Kytka, is going to make a good astronaut some day, isn’t she!
No, this is not Alexandra’s mother, but they do look alike don’t they! It’s Cindy, for those of you who couldn’t recognize her behind the mask.
No, this isn’t Alexandra’s sister either, except in the Lord. This is Kim, one of the leaders of the youth ministry team at Ascension.
Here’s the team’s first project, wiping down and demolding the church pews.
So, “What do we do?” Sarah from Cambridge MA asks.
First, you grab hold of a pew, …
flip it over …
balance it on some folding chairs …
and start cleaning with a solution of Borax, dishwashing soap, and water.
They also cleaned and demolded furnishings for the church’s altar.
The next project was installing new fiberglass insulation in the interior walls of the church.
Here’s Kim starting on one small section of the wall.
The hanging flexible conduit is courtesy of Pastor Stephen accidentally dropping the lights on everybody’s heads when he was removing some copper piping. Didn’t know that pipe was so important, did you, Stephen? Nobody hurt, and the lights were easily rehung! Whew!
Finished! Kim is proud of her work! Only 200 more sections to fill, and then you can call it a day!
Greg and Sarah opted to paint the sanctuary in lieu of hanging insulation …
… along with Kim from Cambridge, and Liz from Ascension in the far left.
Rosemary from Cambridge was there, too!
Paul flunked the audition for the next Batman movie. Now, he’s practicing for the role of Leonardo da Vinci who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
Liz and Kim still hard at work!
Sarah, the group’s other leader, helping Paul prime the ceiling.
The group enjoyed working with several members of the church, including Terry, the steward of the church who is seen here painting the sanctuary.
After running out of things to do at the church, the group began to work on cleaning up this severely damaged home in Broad Channel. It is owned by an older gentleman who lived there for 35 years with his wife. Unfortunately, his wife died suddenly in late December, so his family has had a lot of heartache in the past 6 months! :-(
As you can see here, this little bungalow opens out directly onto Jamaica Bay, just a few feet above sea level. During the hurricane, the Bay and the Atlantic Ocean covered the town and this house with 9 ft. of seawater!
Colin and Tyler from Cambridge MA getting ready to go to work on the house
As you can see, the hurricane caused a lot of damage
The bathroom sink and kitchen cabinets might be salvageable, but not much else.
Our main goal was to clean up the house so work could begin on rebuilding it.
Everything was pretty much trashed.
Somebody had been in before and removed much of the old sheet rock to lessen the development of mold in the walls.
The team gets to work!
You never knew when a big piece of the roof might fall down on you. Thankfully, the foam board in the suspended ceiling was very light and didn’t hurt anybody.
New York City Rapid Repair had already come and replace the heating system and electrical service, so we had to be careful not to damage that.
Mac seems to be trying to figure out what to do next.
Cindy getting into the act removing nails and sheet rock from the walls.
Alexandar wielded a mean hammer. Cindy told her parents that she could easily get a job some day doing demolition work! :-)
Special care had to be taken in one of the rooms because the attic was still full of the owner’s belongings.
No, the camera isn’t dirty. Those spots are dust particles reflecting the flash when this picture was taken. Now you know why everybody is wearing a respirator!
Pastor Stephen, assistant pastor at Ascension Church in Forest Hills, has been a big help and encouragement all along!
It might not look good enough to eat off the floor yet, but the kitchen definitely looks better.
For some reason or the other, nobody chose to go to the bathroom while they were working at this house. Not too much privacy, I guess.
Room # 1 looks a lot cleaner now!
Ditto Room #2
… and the same for Room #3. As you see, it isn’t a big house, but it still took a lot of effort to clean it up!
The phantom team member made an appearance during the weekend.
Now we know!
The team stayed at a Mission House rented by a sister church in Brooklyn.
Nothing fancy about the dining room. but it was a nice place to eat a home cooked meal after a day’s work!
It was also a nice place to enjoy fellowship during free time.
Colin relaxing at the Mission House after a hard day’s work. David knew Colin from when he worked in the same region as we do for MTW. Now he is finishing his M. Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Boston.
The bunks are three deep in the Mission House. Hard on anybody who’s claustrophobic!
We’re pleased to report that everybody on the team returned safe and sound to Cambridge MA after a weekend of hard work and great fellowship. From left to right are Kim, Sarah, Andy, Roger, Mac, Colin, Tyler, Greg, Rosemary, Earle and Paul. Thanks guys for coming out to help!