by Beth Walker
Part of our visit to Utica included a trip down through Schoharie County to view the long term recovery efforts after flooding of the Schoharie Creek during Hurricane Irene in 2011. If you are a subscriber of the Schoharie Gazette you can read a local article at http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2012/jun/06/0606_bishop/
Many portions of this day deserve noting:
We had lunch at the Loaves and Fishes Café before the tour of the area. This café began the second day of recovery with a loaf of banana bread left on the table of the workers and has grown into a full lunch for recovery workers. Food is donated and served by volunteers and to date they figure they have served over 20,000 meals. The menu is a daily surprise and there has never been a day when there was not enough. Want to be part of this amazing ministry? Contact Sarah Goodrich at email@example.com.
We toured areas along the creek that had been impacted by the flooding. Vern Hall is the local Lutheran Disaster Relief coordinator. He works as a volunteer but his is a full time task. An estimated 1600 homes still need to be repaired. Many of the homes were older and when they are repaired need to be brought up to current codes for plumbing and electrical. Volunteers continue to visit the area to help but efforts will need to be ongoing for several more years. A major challenge to S.A.L.T. is sustaining the momentum of support to keep the recovery effort going. People interested in volunteering labor or materials should contact Vern Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dinner was a pot luck (Lutherans really know how to eat!) at Bethany Lutheran Church, Central Bridge. Pastor Steffen A. Zehrfuhs and the congregation have faithfully walked with their twinned parish of Shashe in Zimbabwe since twinning efforts began in 2002. Unbeknownst to all when the visit was planned, Shashe is Bishop Dube’s home parish. It was a serendipitous and emotional discovery for all.
See pictures of our guests as they travel through the state at http://upstatenysynod.smugmug.com/Religion/Zimbabwe-Visitors/