Post-Irene damage to churches appears to be minor

August 2011 storm in Provincetown The seawall at the Church of St. Mary of the Harbor in Provincetown at the height of the storm. The church itself only lost some roof shingles. (Courtesy PHOTO: The Rev. Terry Pannell) Hurricane Irene, downgraded to a tropical storm as it reached New England over the weekend, caused damage up the coast and across New England.  Early reports from the congregations of the Diocese of Massachusetts indicate widespread tree damage and ongoing power outages, but no known injuries and relatively minor damage to church buildings.  Following is the text of an Aug. 29, 2011, post-storm message from Bishop Bud Cederholm. 

We give thanks that the reports we have had so far today from all 12 of our diocese’s deaneries indicate no known injuries and no major damage to church buildings from the weekend storm.  We have heard of widespread tree damage, some ongoing power outages and some minor property damage, and our hearts and prayers are with each of you who have been affected as you deal with these inconveniences with such apparent good spirit.  Word we’ve had late today from our neighbors in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts is that no damage reports have been received by their diocesan offices.  We are grateful to our Commonwealth’s civil and government workers and authorities for their advance preparedness work and leadership in putting public safety first; their efforts surely headed off further adverse consequences, even as this particular storm proved less dire than first predicted.

Our diocese is gifted and blessed with congregations of people who truly care, as evidenced by so many mission trips and outreach following past disasters elsewhere, and we both encourage and know that you will in these upcoming days look out for your neighbors, particularly those who are elderly or who have special needs, to extend your care and attention to them.   If you learn of community or neighborhood needs and find you need advice or contact information in order to reach out or respond, please be in touch with the Rev. Michael Hamilton, our deacon who coordinates disaster preparedness and response for this diocese (617-482-4826, ext. 353 or

Finally, while we are grateful that we here in Massachusetts have fared well, we are deeply aware of damage to property and loss of life elsewhere on the East Coast and in the Caribbean during Hurricane Irene’s early strength.  Please keep all who have been affected in your prayers.

In Christ’s Peace and Love,

The Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm,
Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts