Two tornadoes with winds of up to 125 miles per hour struck parts of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City Sept. 16, damaging structures at two LCMS schools and churches. They were just the ninth and 10th tornadoes to hit the area since 1950, according to news sources.
In an e-mail to district congregations, Atlantic District President Dr. David Benke said that children in the aftercare program at Our Saviour Lutheran School in Rego Park, Queens, were moved to an enclosed space after school windows were shattered.
“The winds exploded windows on both sides of their building, lifted a metal shed 40 feet into telephone lines, and badly impacted the classrooms of this urban school,” Benke wrote. The building sustained substantial damage, causing classes to be cancelled for several days.
St. Mark Lutheran Church and School in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn was struck at the back of the altar, where the congregation’s rectory is located. The church and school structures, dating back to the mid-19th century, were damaged as a chimney crashed through a skylight into the rectory and large chunks of tile hurtled into the playground. In addition, unoccupied houses owned by the church and next to the schoolyard were badly damaged.
“By the grace of God, all were spared at both schools,” said Benke. He asked congregations in the district to collect a special offering on Oct. 3 to help the affected churches.
“While insurance claims are being made and significant improvements have already taken place, there is much additional that needs to be done in terms of equipment, supplies, cleanup and infrastructure,” he added.
Offerings received by the Atlantic District will be coupled with an anticipated grant from LCMS World Relief and Human Care to help in the recovery.
Posted Sept. 29, 2010