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Congregation Disaster Relief Loan

From Floodwaters to Faith: St. Paul’s Journey of Resilience

Pastor Evan Scamman moves musical equipment to table as flood waters rise in St. Paul Lutheran's fellowship hall.

When Hurricane Ida struck Greenwich, Conn., it left a trail of destruction in its wake. But it also revealed something extraordinary—the unyielding spirit of the St. Paul Lutheran Church congregation, buoyed by the support of faithful Lutherans.

Their journey from the depths of despair to the path of recovery is a testament to faith and community.

Moment of despair
Tony Dorazio, an elder at St. Paul, received a phone call as Ida dumped torrential rains on the region. The call was from a resident of the parish house the church rents. They told Dorazio water was coming into the basement, and they were going to shut the power off.

As Tony rushed to the scene, he was met with a staggering sight. The floodwaters had rapidly risen, submerging not only the parish house but also the church itself. The parking lot was inundated, and the church’s lower level, including the fellowship hall and kitchen, was flooded.

It was a moment of despair, but the community’s faith remained unshaken.

Helping hands
Congregation members, both old and new, lent a helping hand. They started down the road to recovery, discarding damaged belongings, and restoring what they could.

The flood waters from Hurricane Ida left St. Paul Lutheran with a mess to clean up. With the helpful hands of congregational members and assistance from LCEF, the church is stronger than ever before.

The church’s fellowship hall, kitchen and other areas were severely affected by the flooding. Appliances were damaged, furniture ruined and precious documents soaked.

“We knew there was really not too much salvageable downstairs or in the house even,” said Jack Dobrucky, superintendent and president of the congregation. “We lost a lot of our tables, chairs, the whole kitchen, the wall below the cabinets. But we had help from folks in our own congregation and the Spanish congregation that shares the space with us. They were so helpful coming in to clean up.”

‘Nothing would be covered’
Meanwhile, congregational leaders contacted their insurance company. “At least our insurance will cover it,” said Evan Scamman, the pastor of St. Paul. “That’s why we have insurance. And then about two weeks later we learned from the insurance company that nothing would be covered. There’s generally a waiver in most policies that excludes flood damage.”

The church opted to use a disaster relief loan from Lutheran Church Extension Fund. “In our darkest hour, LCEF reached out to us with unwavering support,” Dobrucky said. “Their disaster relief loan provided the financial foundation we needed to begin rebuilding our church and our community.”

Scamman highlighted the significance of LCEF’s assistance. “LCEF’s support was not just financial; they connected us with invaluable resources and expertise to expedite our recovery efforts,” he said. “Our congregation worked tirelessly to restore our cherished spaces, knowing that we had the backing of the LCEF.”

A beacon of hope
In the face of adversity, St. Paul Lutheran Church stood strong, proving that with faith, unity and the helping hands of its community, the congregation could overcome even the most formidable challenges. Their journey from floodwaters to recovery is a testament to the power of faith and community.

“The support we received from LCEF was a beacon of hope during our darkest days,” Scamman said. “With their assistance, we have not only rebuilt our physical spaces but also strengthened the bonds of our congregation. Our faith remains unshaken, and together, we will continue to rise from the waters, stronger than ever before.”

St. Paul Lutheran's resilience shined in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.