You probably have heard about the damage that was done to the Portland New Church when someone set fire to the front of the church and took their Black Lives Matter sign last weekend. Pastor Lorraine Kardash reported: “Sometime in the middle of the night someone started a fire on the porch near the Black Lives Matter sign. The sign was taken. Fortunately, the fire dept put it out before much damage was done to the inside. The sanctuary is fine.”
In talking with Pastor Lorraine again today, they are upbeat and ready to put up another sign, and Brittany from Central Office is mailing one to her. They were fortunate a neighbor noticed the fire and ran over with buckets of water even before the fire department arrived. Insurance investigators have finished their assessment and the authorities are looking for the vandals. Lorraine surmises another 10 minutes and the wooden structure built in 1910 would have been burned to the ground.
Pastor Lorraine affirms that good is coming out of this sad reflection on some people in our world today. The Society is standing strong, working together, and inviting others to join them at a Peace Picnic in the church yard planned for October 10th. They are putting up a banner “Honoring Diversity” over the damage to their entrance. We are with them in spirit and our hearts are warmed by their perseverance.
Pastor Lorraine’s update: “Thank you all for your messages of support. Since the fire, our council president Anne Gresinger and I have been interviewed by 3 TV stations, The Portland Press Herald and The Boston Globe. There has been a great show of concern from the 9 or so groups that use our building, the neighbors, the interfaith community, and others who have heard about it. The investigation is ongoing. They are sure it is arson. The PNC Community (12 local active members) are organizing a Peace Picnic to be held in our yard on Oct. 10th at 12 noon, with participation from the building users and general community. We plan to put up another Black Lives Matter Sign soon, as well as several surveillance cameras. Insurance investigators are evaluating today and I feel pretty sure they will cover repairs. The damage is on the front of the building, so some boards need to be replaced and the front resided with the cedar shingles. On the inside some sheet rock needs redoing. No smoke damage. The neighbors and fire dept. made quick work of putting it out. In gratitude, Lorraine Kardash”
Please join me in support of our sister church with emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will assess needs for financial assistance when the insurance company reports back.
With Care and Gratitude for saving the church building and those who continue to care for it,
Rev. Jane Siebert