It has been over a week since I last wrote in this blog. But, it has been a busy week and we have accomplished a lot!
June 2 – Saturday: Four of us from St. Mary’s went: Denise Reovan, Floyd Stevens, Venita Chapman, and myself took the 8AM ferry to Road Town on Tortola for a meeting with the Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) group from New York and Jay Rollins the local ERD rep from St Croix. We learned about Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) in the context of disaster recovery and preparedness. I hope we can find the time to sit down with the rest of the vestry and see how we can apply what we learned to our situation here at St Mary’s.
We took the 4:30 ferry back to Virgin Gorda. The church was gracious in providing me with a car from Speedy’s (the company that runs the ferries) until the parish car is repaired. It is a good thing, because, even though it is only a 15-minute walk to the church, it is all uphill, and it is hot and humid.
June 3 – Sunday: My first Sunday at St Mary’s. This day we had 31 people (21 youth and 10 adults) come over on the ferry from Tortola. They were members of St. Paul’s and St. George’s. The purpose of their visit was to participate in a youth service. The diocese is trying to build up the church to attract more young people. The combined attendance was about 70 people in the Parish Hall. It was a rousing service! The young people provided the music: piano, conga drums, guitars, and percussion. Most of the songs were from LEVAS, but we did sing I the Lord of Sea and Skyfor the recessional (appropriate youth mission song).
This day, we met the people from Visions Service Adventures (https://visionsserviceadventures.com) , a secular teen service program. This year St Mary’s is the host for three groups of youth for the months of June and July. Believe me this is a blessing! They are staying on our Parish Hall and have hired Margaret from the neighborhood to cook for them in Jermaine’s kitchen.
Geza Torks, Matt, and Shannon are the advance party. They immediately jumped in to help us get the church ready for Sunday, June 10.
June 4 – Monday: We started cleaning out the church and the church office. These places had not been really cleaned since Irmaria. Matt and I moved the pews out of the church so that we could pressure wash the inside. Then we swept the church out. It was HOT!! I was glad to return to a cool shower.
June 5 – Tuesday: We continued to clean out the church and office. I was surprised to find out the A/C in the office worked when there was no other power in there. It turned out the power came from another building. When I came home, I went for a refreshing dunk at the Fischer’s Cove Beach.
Later, I met with Bernadette and Jermaine, the Sr and Jr Wardens, in the evening. They approved the purchase of a pressure washer, so we could finish cleaning the church.
June 6 – Wednesday: Today was the day for the Senior Service at 10AM. There were 13 seniors in attendance. Since the Feast of the Visitation was last week, we celebrated it this day. We sang some old favorite hymns from LEVAS and we had a lunch of typical Caribbean food. (smashed peas, greens, pumpkin soup, and plantains). After lunch, Bernice and I went to see Pansy, and take her communion. She was very grateful.
Later that evening, I met with the vestry. It was a very positive meeting. We agreed it was a good idea to go back into the church on Sunday, so that we could take a baby step on the way to normalcy. We also, approved the creation of the Church Reconstruction Committee, headed up by Frankie Walters. Floyd Stevens and Karl (Ricky) Flax are the other members. Jermaine George, the Jr Warden, is on the committee, also.
June 7 – Thursday: When I arrived at church that morning, Matt was already hard at work power washing the church. We continued to clean and organize the church, the sacristy, and the office. The electrician came later that day and connected the electricity to the church building. There is still a lot to do to finish the electrical work. The parish was in the process or rewiring the church to install air conditioning when Irma hit. Frankie’s committee is getting in touch with them to come and finish the job. But, for now, we have lights and some power in the sacristy and office. We need power, lights, and fans in the church proper.
Frankie came to check out the dimensions of the windows, so he could get them ordered.
June 8 – Friday: The church power washing was completed. Several women from the congregation came by to check out the progress. By that time in the week I was pretty pooped. I spent most of the day working on my sermon at Fischer’s Cove.
June 9 – Saturday: In the morning I finished up my sermon. They I went up to the church. The kids from Visions had arrived late Friday night. They were up at 7AM and off to the beach, because the Purple Dragon Dojo uses the Parish Hall from 7:30 – 10:30. When I arrived they were getting organized to complete the cleaning of the church, including polishing the pews with Old English.
They worked all day, cleaning the church and the church grounds. Ricky Flax made sure there was a VERY LARGE trash bin to put the cleanings into. The kids even planted some plants around the church. AMAZING. The hardest part of the day was moving the piano into the church. Even though, it is an electric piano, it was much heavier than I expected. We had to take off the legs and pedals. Six strong kids and two counselors carried into the church.
In the midafternoon, I took a break to help a family plan for a funeral which will take place on June 23rd.
Grace, Tunbe, Doraine, and several other church women were there to put the finishing touches on getting the church ready for Sunday.
Later that evening, I joined the kids for a barbecue at Margaret’s sidewalk kitchen down the hill from the church.
June 10 – Sunday: What a joyful day. There was one service at 10AM. The church was filled – about 45 people. The singing astonished me. It was JOYFUL and STRONG, even though the pianist did not show up. The people have some great voices. Jermaine made sure altar party did not faint by providing a fan pointing toward the altar. The people were very grateful to be back in the church!!
WHAT A WEEK!!!!
Link to the pictures of the week: http://starrnet.com/photo-gallery-from-second-vg-post/
Note the panoramas are on my Facebook page. They do not show up clearly on this website.