Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
I have just returned to New York City from meetings of the Board of Pensions in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Hurricane Sandy just missed us there, but it appears that the entire northeast United States — including the New York metropolitan area — will not be so lucky.
I urge you all NOT to be complacent or unprepared. Our relatively gentle experience with Hurricane Irene last year should not in any way diminish your level of preparedness for what is proving to be a much more dangerous storm. In light of the forecasted extreme weather conditions, I advise all of you to take the following precautions well in advance of the storm’s anticipated arrival tomorrow morning.
- Above all else, take all steps necessary to ensure the protection of people under your care or responsibility. Make sure you have good contact information, including email, landline and cell phone numbers for your employees and loved ones, and that they all have yours.
- Prayerfully consider offering visitors or staff commuting from a distance “storm holiday(s)” for the duration of the storm so that they do not place themselves at unnecessary risk of getting to and from work.
- Secure your church building well for high winds and torrential rain. If there are known leaks in your building, be proactive and use waterproof sheeting to minimize seepage. Inspect, repair and clear all building gutters of autumn debris. If necessary, board up exposed or leaky windows to protect the interiors from flying debris or broken glass.
- Take pictures NOW of any exposed portions of your building subject to storm damage. KEEP THESE PHOTOS. Upload the pictures to the internet if you can. After the storm passes and it is safe to do so, take pictures of any apparent damage. These second photos will be able to provide you with “before and after” images to show insurance adjusters and architects.
- Make copies of your insurance policies, and make sure you have all the contact information for your insurance claims service.
- The Presbytery office will most likely be minimally functioning on Monday and perhaps Tuesday. If you have a need to contact us during the storm, telephone access may be limited, so please use our Facebook page to do leave messages and status updates: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Presbytery-of-New-York-City/139878122727098.
Finally, I ask that all of you pray for all affected by the storm, and especially for those who will be providing emergency response services during the event: police, fire fighters and medical personnel.
Stay safe and secure this week. I am confident in God’s abiding protection and grace during this difficult time, as I am in the resourcefulness and care of the people of God here in New York City.
Tony De La Rosa
Interim Executive Presbyter