New Haven URC faces aftermath of fuel-oil spill

At the March meeting of Classis Eastern US of the URCNA, Rev Jeremy Veldman requested prayer as he reported that the New Haven URC (New Haven,VT) has been displaced from its church building due to a massive leak from an attic fuel-oil storage tank.

The leak, triggered by a heating system failure, was discovered on February 1. A reported 800 gallons of kerosene gushed down the side of the building while additional fuel seeped out storage tank seams through the ceiling of a small room on the first floor.

In an interesting turn of events, the people of the Champlain Valley Christian Reformed Church inVergennes,VT, have opened their facilities and hearts to New Haven URC members. The New Haven congregation temporarily meets for Sunday worship with the Champlain Valley CRC. Alternative locations, including other church buildings and member homes, are being implemented for Sunday church education classes and mid-week Bible studies and prayer meetings.

Church elders released a prepared statement noting that the congregation has been “saddened and deeply affected” by the fuel spill and continues “to entrust” the situation “to our Lord in faith, waiting upon His leading and perfect providence as we anticipate worshipping in our church building again.” The statement quoted from Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” (NIV).

Alternative storage systems are being implemented inVermont since legislation has eliminated most underground storage tanks while public grants assist homeowners in replacing aging residential oil tanks.

According to a March 13, 2011, news report by Candace Page at BurlingtonFreePress.com, spills that “cannot be removed entirely in the short term” often end up on the state’s list of hazardous sites and the “New Haven church likely is headed for a spot on that list….”

Although the spill did not extend past the church property boundary, the extensive efforts underway to mitigate the effects of the disaster will require time and money.

Page writes that Vermont’s “Petroleum Cleanup Fund will pay any uninsured cleanup costs, to a $25,000 cap in the case of above-ground storage tanks. After that, the church will have to pay.” 

Please remember the needs of this URCNA congregation in your prayers and giving.

The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 14 of the April 6, 2011 issue of Christian Renewal.

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