Thursday, October 15
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Presbytery of Monmouth
On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy came ashore just below Little Egg Harbor. Our church, First Presbyterian of Tuckerton, lost its main electrical conduit, and 37 members suffered significant damage to their homes. In storm-ravaged neighborhoods, entire houses were missing from their foundations, large boats formed piles like cast-off toys, and docks and boats were lodged in the first floor of buildings. Dazed and exhausted people dragged wet carpet, damaged appliances, and broken siding to debris piles at the curb.
Our congregation responded with what comes most naturally to us: hospitality. Members made hot soup, baked cookies, and assembled sandwiches. We delivered lunch to storm-weary survivors. Everyone who received the food was grateful. Many asked for prayers; some burst into tears. When one woman was asked if she’d like some soup, she said, “Yes please, but can I also have a hug?”
Sister congregations also responded: Brunswick Presbyterian in Troy, New York, sent soup containers. Liberty Corner Presbyterian, Nassau Presbyterian in Princeton, and First Presbyterian of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, sent teams to help deliver lunches.
The ministry continued for 18 months. Participants understood that the real value was not so much the food delivered as the message it sent: Hurting people had not been forgotten. Caring people would walk beside them as they put their lives back together. We at First Presbyterian call it “holding hearts”—bringing the love and comfort of Jesus Christ to people who need it most.
Our congregation is one of 46 in the Presbytery of Monmouth.
—Rev. Merideth S. Mueller, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Tuckerton
Let us join in prayer for
Wendy Bailey, regional presbyter
Carl Wilton, stated clerk
Marie Luthringer, media and office manager
Patty Williams, education consultant
Phyllis Zoon, hunger/environment action enabler
Howard Dunbar, accountant
Nancy Tindall, treasurer
Merideth S. Mueller, director of advocacy for long-term recovery
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Gracious God, remind us again and again of your abundant hospitality. Lead us to serve others who are hurting, alone, and afraid. Amen.