todaySpin - Feb. 21, 2009
Ian Douglas will give two lectures in Bethlehem, March 26

Grace and the neighborhood fire

[Updated Feb. 25]

Grace and the neighborhood fire
Emergency center set up at Grace Church

[Wednesday, Feb. 25] Especially needed: non-dressy clothing for teens and adults, casual but good-conditioned pants for men and boys, new socks, sweaters and jackets for young men, pants (blue jeans, etc.) for boys and men, packs of new underwear, nice winter coats, casual footwear for teens, boys, and men and women, nice t-shirts. Currently, we have a lot more women’s clothing than men’s garments. You can bring clothing and other household items to the church between the hours of 10:00 and 3:00.

[Monday, Feb. 23] Patty McNamara, director of the Grace Church Food Bank, is organizing a clothing drive to help the victims replace some of their clothing. There is also a need for kitchen utensils and toys. You can bring any donation you would like to make to the church any weekday between the hours of 10 and 3. Patty is in contact with the Red Cross so that these donations will be given directly to the victims of this terrible tragedy. You can make monetary contribution by writing a check to the church and we will forward all the gifts at one time.

[Saturday, Feb. 21] As a neighborhood fire displaced 45 people (32 adults and 13 children) in Allentown, near Grace Episcopal Church, the church became a temporary home for those without family nearby. Grace parishioners, in cooperation with the Red Cross, served lunch and dinner yesterday, breakfast this morning and set up cots in the nave of the church for overnight shelter.

"Today, Grace Church was a clear witness to the presence in the world of the God we know in Christ," said Grace rector Father Patrick Malloy. "In renovating our church, we wanted to create a space to express what we believe:  the liturgy, the spiritual disciplines, and the works of justice and charity are all one. The presence of those who take refuge in our church makes us ever more aware that the ground where we gather is holy ground."

090221.Cots in nave3a
“How awesome is this place!  This is none other than
the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Gen. 28:17).

Entries in the renovation photo journal at Grace's website have been updated to include this story.

View video feed from Allentown and Philadelphia TV stations. Find the Morning Call story, with many photos of the fire, here.

[Sunday, Feb. 22] On Sunday morning at Eucharist, parishioners, Red Cross volunteers and a few people displaced by the fire entered into conversation during the time when a sermon would ordinarily be delivered. They spoke about how quickly their church was transformed into a shelter, including daytime hospitality, the preparation of meals and cots in the nave.

The Red Cross officially closed the shelter at noon Sunday. The six people who stayed at the shelter Saturday night were given lodging and food vouchers. The rest of the displaced are staying with family or friends. ''We will be following them throughout the week,'' said said Red Cross Chief Operating Officer Bob Duld.

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