When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. –Isaiah 43:2
Thank you all volunteers who have kept track of various needs throughout the past weeks since a couple of sprinkler lines burst above the ceiling in our sanctuary. Your hours of cleanup, connecting with contractors and insurance, moving pews, and other acts of care have been a gift to our whole congregation.
Each day we discover new information, and I ask your forgiveness if what I share today is less than accurate should new findings emerge—you also know my degree is not in building repair! My hope is to give you the most updated news at this time for clarity and transparency.
Given the amount of water that came through the ceiling, we had multiple best-case scenarios. Some volunteers were in the building when the system triggered the fire alarm, and they responded quickly with towels and trashcans to catch the water. The Bellingham Fire Department was on scene very soon, and our water was turned off. Other volunteers immediately contacted Service Master to professionally clean up and dry the sanctuary as much as possible.
At this time, sprinkler pipes have been replaced and new insulation will be added in the ceiling. Our United Church of Christ Insurance Board representative has assured us they will work closely with Pearson Construction in removing any damaged drywall, replacing seamed edges with new tape, and replacing tiles/ flooring where water stood. They will also receive reports from an organ professional regarding any affects to that cherished instrument. Our insurance deductible is $10,000, much less than the costs of repair. I give thanks for the foresight of our congregation to have a Major Maintenance account, even though we weren’t able to fully fund it with our pledges in 2019.
Once repairs begin they will take approximately 6 weeks; we hope to schedule for mid- to late-May. During that period we will practice flexibility in our sanctuary (much as we did on February 17 when the scaffolding was in place during worship).
Here’s what my experiences these past weeks compel me to say about this event. We are a congregation that is responsive and willing to jump in when a crisis occurs—thanks be to God! We are a congregation that is creative and able to try adventurous options when the typical path isn’t available—thanks be to God! We are a congregation that supports the infrastructure of our building through physical maintenance and financial gifts—thanks be to God! We are a congregation that will continue to serve God’s Shalom in this place for a long, long time—thanks be to God! Amen.