June 30, 2018

In the midst of so much loss, there is joy. Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is dependent upon external conditions and is situational. Happiness comes and goes. Joy is a spiritual gift. It is the gift of knowing Christ's presence regardless of outward circumstances. It is a gift of knowing you are held closely by God and will be cared for just as the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

St. Peter's has shifted operations this week to two areas of concern. First, we are making sure all three of the county supplied water stations are stocked and, at the end of the day, properly sanitized to protect our community's collective health. Second, we are hosting the Family Meal - a hot meal every evening from 5-8 pm for the residents, business owners and workers who have spent all day cleaning and working on their buildings.

St. Peter's will monitor the need to keep these ministries going. If you can help with the Family Meal by supplying food, contact our Senior Warden Judi Mahaffey or Junior Warden Katherine Schnorrenberg. If you want to help with serving the meal or tending the water stations, you can sign up by clicking here.

Thanks to Kat Forder of Kat Forder Photography for the dance party video.

"Jesus said, 'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-- you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.'" (Matt. 6:25-34 NRS)

June 16, 2018

A whole week away and I am humbled by the outpouring of support and love shown to the OEC community. The past two weeks have been filled with hard, smelly, emotionally intense work. We've seen love and tears, hopes and fears, and in all the presence of Christ through people - both those who are members of St. Peter's and those we have "adopted" into this quirky family of faith.

The Order of the Holy Cross is an order of Benedictine monks in the Episcopal Church. Their mother house is in West Park, NY on the Hudson River. Their founder Fr. James Otis Sargeant Huntington coined a motto for the brothers:

Love must act
as light must shine
And fire must burn.

Love without action is merely sentimental and has no substance. Love in action is the full realization of God's grace. Our community is seeing grace abound.

June 3, 2018

This is the day that the Lord has made! In spite of all the mud and mess, we take our time to worship God and give thanks. Meister Eckhardt once said, "If the only prayer you ever utter is 'thank you', it would be enough." Our worship at St. Peter's was full today with new friends joining us. While the main Gospel reading had much to say about the sabbath, Mother Anjel focused on the Hebrew text and the call of Samuel: "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."

While credentialing continued on at the George Howard Building, residents and business owners could only access their properties until 1 pm when another flood warning was issued.

 This is Nicole.

This is Nicole.

Meet Nicole. Nicole is from Bowling Green, OH. She texted us through our Facebook page and said she felt led by the Spirit to come to Ellicott City for the weekend and work. And boy did she work and we are so grateful! A servant of God who knows how to listen for the Word of the Lord.

We received word that Howard County will be moving credentialing and transport operations back to St. Peter's Monday - Friday from 4 - 8 pm beginning June 4, 2018. St. Peter's will open from 12 - 8 pm each day

June 2, 2018

It's the weekend and you know what that means ... more volunteers and supplies. We had a brief break in the rain in the morning and Councilman Jon Weinstein and Mother Anjel took Deema Zein from PBS Frontline 360 down into the West End for a tour of the impact of this flood on our residents. Beth Woodruff, Gayle Killen and our own Barrington Sweeney all gave great interviews to talk about how this is impacting their lives. Jon gave a great overview of how many artificial 90 degree angles have been put into the Tiber River since the 19th century to attempt to control the waters. It's said that nature abhors a vacuum but it's equally true that nature abhors 90 degree angles too! Keep an eye out for Frontline's 360 to see the story.

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Many disaster recovery teams descended on the area today. Southern Baptist Disaster Recovery is well known in the area and have arrived on the scene. Clean up is happening because of great volunteers and neighbors helping neighbors.

All this was happening ... until ... it began to rain again. Gator runs were canceled (again) and St. Peter's stayed open until 8 pm just to make sure evacuation wouldn't be necessary.

A big THANKS to Mission BBQ for feeding our crew at dinner on Saturday. Pulled pork and beef, cole slaw and potato salad were just what our crew and neighbors needed!

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June 1, 2018

The day began hot and humid with a threat of more thunderstorms in the afternoon. But it began with Casey Johnston's coffee from Anchor Coffee Roasters in Baltimore which can't be beat! Thank God Pope Clement VIII declared coffee, something brought to Europe from our Muslim friends in the middle ages, something we can all enjoy (read about that here).

St. Peter's is not accustomed to being surprised by reporters. While the media were very present the first few days, now we were dealing with a random truck showing up unannounced and approaching people in the parking lot. Mtr. Anjel worked with our diocesan communications staff and an old friend of St. Peter's, The Rev. Dan Webster, to come up with a media protocol to help balance the need of the media to get the story while respecting our community members who have been traumatized by this crisis.

 

St. Peter's Ellicott City
Press Guidelines

In order to balance the mental and spiritual health needs of our community in the aftermath of this flood, we are asking the media to abide by the following protocol:

DO NOT show up unannounced. To schedule a time to cover the story, please text the people on our list provided to all media outlets.

Once you have set up a time to come to St. Peter’s, enter the campus and park on the SOUTH side of the church (just past the preschool playground). If that parking area is full, pull around to Smith Avenue and park along Smith Avenue and walk in. Please keep the back parking lot open for residents to park and receive aid.

Enter the Press Room from the door just below our Preschool’s playground (facing the parking area on the south side of the building). It is marked PRESS ROOM. You will be met by a volunteer who will then summon one of the above contacts to come and meet you.

If you want to interview residents, DO NOT approach directly to ask – let our volunteers do that for you. The initial shock has now worn off, these folks are exhausted, and we are seeing serous signs of mental stress. A famous person in a logo shirt carries authority and may cause some to say “yes” to an interview when they are vulnerable. We believe you share our concern to not add to the distress they are already under so please do not randomly approach people with your camera crew.

We will help you get the shots and interviews you need and want for your stories. All of the people above are authorized to speak to the media and can help you. We want the story out there and hope you will come back in the weeks to come while our operations are still going – this will be a long term effort and we don’t want the community to forget us. You are very important to that effort!

Finally, we are blessed to have a licensed acupuncturist on site (her hours vary) who is offering trauma release treatments for those affected by the flood. This includes your reporters and camera operators! You are on the front lines of seeing traumatic events every day and we care about your health too. If Sara Beth is onsite, please feel free to take 15 minutes for an acupuncture treatment.

Thank you for understanding our community’s need for space and boundaries during this difficult time.

Thank you,

The Rev. Anjel Scarborough
Priest in Charge
St. Peter’s Church
3695 Rogers Ave, Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-465-2273

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Now things are really jumping at St. Peter's. While credentialing was in full swing from 4 - 8 pm, the flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service caused Howard County to cancel gator transport into town. That didn't stop St. Peter's and it sure didn't stop Chuck. Chuck is from McLean Bible Church. He drove this truck up loaded with supplies from THE LIST. #BeLikeChuck

 This is Chuck (upper left corner of picture). Chuck is from McLean Bible Church. Chuck drove a whole truckload of supplies in a raging thunderstorm to St. Peter's. Be like Chuck.

This is Chuck (upper left corner of picture). Chuck is from McLean Bible Church. Chuck drove a whole truckload of supplies in a raging thunderstorm to St. Peter's. Be like Chuck.

Since thunderstorms threatened, gator transport was halted while credentialing continued. That's when Joey Vanoni showed up with his food truck containing a full brick fired pizza oven! Pizza di Joey makes the real deal and you know he's for real ... because he calls it "PIE". Cheese and pepperoni pies came out of that oven all afternoon and fed the multitude. The Bible tells us of manna coming from heaven but this time God sent Joey with the PIE! Thank you Joey and crew for all you did to feed our folks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Operations begin to kick into gear. Staying ahead of the avalanche of phone calls, tweets, and text messages of offers for help was overwhelming! In times of crisis, many people want to do something (anything) and they don't realize folks on the ground have not even assessed what is necessary or even helpful yet. Please understand if we don't get right back with you as it is you and hundreds (yes, hundreds) of others who rush in immediately. We will contact you or, even better, give us about a week or two and contact us. By then, we will be out of the media eye and we will need volunteers to do the medium and long term work. Please don't forget this will be a long-term recovery effort.

Thanks to Christina Page, the beginnings of THE LIST of needed items takes shape. You can access this list on our Facebook page by clicking here. Yes, we take Amazon Prime shipments to the church!

Clark's Hardware in Ellicott City stepped up in an amazing way. Margaret Clark was there from the beginning sending us shovels, wheelbarrows, and work gloves. Today, she brought us 30 high speed fans!

 Margaret Clark and her daughter with Mother Anjel.

Margaret Clark and her daughter with Mother Anjel.

Mtr. Anjel had a chance to walk the West End to assess the damage and talk to the neighbors whose homes were affected. Consensus is this is worse than the 2016 flood. Our sexton, Barrington Sweeney, has lived on the West End all his life and his family has been here for over 100 years. He made significant improvements to his home after the 2016 flood so he sustained minimal damage this time. He reported that the water line this time was 5" higher than the 2016 flood.

Howard County officially moved their credentialing (badge issuing) operations to the parking lot at St. Peter's today. Gator transports took residents and business owners down to get an initial assessment and 15 minutes to grab essentials. Mother Anjel and Deb Lewin went down to check on our friend Dave Carney at the Wine Bin later in the day.

 Deb Lewin gives free hugs and works hard for the people in Ellicott City!

Deb Lewin gives free hugs and works hard for the people in Ellicott City!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

St. Peter's members mobilized hot coffee, water and snacks at the George Howard Building where credentialing and escorts were able to take residents and business owners to their properties to gather belongings and assess damage. Operations continued at St. Peter's to mobilize and organize donations.

St. Peter's began to connect with local businesses. The Rev. Jim Perra ran into St. Peter's member Kennette Mitchell in the Home Depot in Ellicott City. Home Depot donated work gloves and contractor bags for the clean up effort.

 Home Depot Manager Steve (left), another HD employee, Kennette Mitchell and Fr. Jim Perra get the selfie.

Home Depot Manager Steve (left), another HD employee, Kennette Mitchell and Fr. Jim Perra get the selfie.

Mother Anjel walked through the West End to do a preliminary assessment of damage. She was able to walk to Ellicott Mills Drive where the road had completely collapsed. When that sinkhole opened, it swept away the historic courthouse.

MONDAY, MAY 28, 2018 MEMORIAL DAY

St. Peter's began mobilizing for action just as we did in 2016 gathering food, cleaning supplies, tools, water and getting it down to as many people as we could. Thanks to our neighbor Tony McGuffin and with help from Bishop Eugene Sutton, we were able to bring a grill up to the church to cook hamburgers and hot dogs. Sara Beth Dukes, a local acupuncturist, offered trauma release therapy in St. Luke's Chapel. By the end of the day, West End neighbors gathered to eat together at St. Peter's.

 Tony McGuffin (holding the water) and other volunteers unload supplies on Memorial Day

Tony McGuffin (holding the water) and other volunteers unload supplies on Memorial Day

Key Links for Flood Relief

Monetary donations

At this point in recovery, we are only in need of monetary assistance as we have plenty of supplies and equipment for our OEC community. Cash donations can be made through our Tithe.ly page at http://bit.ly/DonateSPEC. Select the OEC Flood Relief fund.

Volunteering to assist with donation distribution & food

At St. Peter's, sign up at http://bit.ly/VolunteerECFlood.

Volunteering to clean up businesses and residences on Main Street

Howard County is changing the requirements for credentialing as Main Street begins to reopen. Check the Howard County Government web site to see the latest information on hours, credential requirements and needs.