Church coverage was lacking

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To The Editor:
Your special section last week on the events and recovery from the flood on August 28, 2011 was I’m sure appreciated by the community. It is good to reminisce and to honor all those who pitched in to help our communities reach a “new normal.” It took the efforts of governmental personnel, charities, businesses, organizations and houses of worship to bring us to where we are today.

However, I noticed a big gap in your reporting. No mention is made of the efforts of the religious community in the recovery effort. It’s as if God was on vacation when the flood hit.

I’d like to personally express my appreciation to the Interfaith Council’s efforts for giving hundreds of donated dollars to help our neighbors recover. I appreciate the efforts of Dorothy Maffei who worked in conjunction with the Interfaith Council to supply furniture, appliances, computers, bedding, bath supplies and cleaning materials for of neighbors for free. Along with the Family Table and the Margaretville Food Bank who made nutritional food available for flood survivors.

Thanks should be given to the Fleischmanns Community Church for opening its doors and feeding and providing clothing to its neighbors for free. I am grateful that the church served breakfast, lunch and supper every day for several weeks for free so our neighbors would not go hungry.
I am thankful that my own church the Margaretville United Methodist Church sheltered flood survivors, provided food and clothing and was a center for communications in the days following the flood. The church also provided space for FEMA and other recovery organizations in the days following the flood.

Appreciation should be given to the efforts of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) who sent vans of people daily to help others to safely clean their homes and supplied materials needed for people to recover.

I am grateful for Jeremiah Park, resident Bishop of the New York Annual Conference who walked the streets of Blenheim, Prattsville, Fleischmanns and Margaretville to assess the destruction and lend spiritual comfort and physical aid to our neighbors.

Many other religious organizations helped in the cleanup effort. The Margaretville-New Kingston Presbyterian Church opened its doors and supplied free donated food and clothing to all in need. I know of the efforts of the Lutherans and Presbyterians on the national level to lift the flood survivors to the “new normal.” I wish I could thank them all.

The only times any church is mentioned in the Catskill Mountain News is one small article on the back page about an outdoor worship service in Roxbury and advertisements placed in your paper by the Catskill Mountain Christian Center, the Grand Gorge United Methodist Church and the Greater Margaretville Interfaith Council. It seems that the only way a house of worship can get coverage that is more than a small mention on the back page in the Catskill Mountain News is by purchasing an advertisement. Something is wrong with this picture.

I hope the Catskill Mountain News will work to rectify this vacuum in its reporting on the area news. God is with us anytime there is destruction and we need to recover. He is actively working along with many believers and organized houses of worship in the Catskill Mountains.
Grace and Peace.

The Reverend L. Lawrence Dunlap,
Upper Catskill Larger Parish-Lead Pastor