FromTheDean

Transformation and Renewal Conference, November 10-13, 2013, Kanuga Conference Center

If you have an interest in the Episcopal Church, ministry with youth and young adults, come to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for this special conference.  Discussion, worship and workshop leaders will be young adult leaders of African descent and staff members from the Episcopal Church Foundation, the Office of Black Ministries, the Union of Black Episcopalians and leaders who are successfully reaching out to young people. Come share your experiences, questions and concerns as we explore the contributions of youthful leadership in a changing church. Learn how to identify young leaders, recruit them and equip them for mission and ministry.   You will gain some new experiences and practical tools and resources for ministry and leadership development to take back to your community.

Worship, music and Bible study have always been central to this conference.  The tradition continues as our spiritual foundation, which will include beloved treasures, hidden gems and new forms to try.

For more information, contact (kmontagno@diomass.org)  at the Diocese of Massachusets or Chris Lynn at Kanuga Conferences (chris.lynn@kanuga.org).  The website is www.kanuga.org/conferences.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 1.47.01 PM
Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 1.47.01 PM

From the Dean: Heat Returns to Chelsea Square

Friday evening, 9 November 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We are now 11 days without heat in most of our buildings. The geothermal system that heats Dodge and Kohne is functioning, and the Keller Library, which draws heat from the Chelsea Enclave system, is warm. Each room in Seabury has its own heating unit, so our offices and classrooms are comfortable. On the rest of the Close, we are making due with space heaters. Anthony Khani spent much of the weekend driving from Home Depot to Walmart to any other outlet he could find Upstate, and he secured plenty of heaters for us. In our homes, we’re not toasty, but neither are we shivering. In the two large common spaces -- the Chapel and the Refectory --, however, it has been very cold. We are lucky that temperatures are rising in New York, as Google shows.

Heat 1
Heat 1

We are even luckier that Mr. Khani has secured for us a portable boiler, which is currently being connected into our heating system. Through contacts in his previous position with a large corporation, he was able to secure a portable system for us from Tennessee. Late this afternoon, the truck carrying the boiler arrived. Right now, workers are connecting it into our steam-heat system. Our apartments will be overheated and our radiators will be clanging sometime this weekend. In other words, it will be like a normal New York winter.

Heat 2
Heat 2

The City gave us a permit to take up parking spaces for the truck that houses the boiler. That meant that all the cars parked along the northwest edge of our property – 21st Street just east of 10th Avenue – had to move. Two days ago, as the law requires, we posted signs asking those parked in those places to move in anticipation of the arrival of the truck. All but two did, and we had the legal right to tow those two cars. (We towed them just across 10th Avenue.)

To tow neighbors’ cars is not a good way to make friends and build community relations. Neither is it good to import noisy equipment. So we decided to go door-to-door in the neighborhood and have a conversation with those who answered and leave a letter for those who did not.

Heat 3
Heat 3

I spoke to many of our neighbors, and only one said a negative word. The rest were kind and encouraging. One, who got the note but did not speak to me, sent me a follow-up email, and she has given me permission to share it with you.

Heat 4
Heat 4

We need to foster such relationships with all our neighbors, and we are on our way.

Right now, technicians are working to connect our heating system to the external boiler. Some of that work is being done on the street.

Heat 5
Heat 5
Heat 6
Heat 6

The steam will be piped in overhead, so people can walk between the truck and Hoffman Hall. The trees on 21st Street are getting in the way, but the workers are making good progress is maneuvering around them.

In the boiler room, other workers are making the connections between the temporary exterior boiler and our campus heating system. It is impossible to say when all of this will be wrapped up and the clanging of the radiators will begin again, but it will surely be this weekend.

All of this is happening just in time for the football team from VTS to arrive for tomorrow’s game against us. After the game, students from GTS and VTS will go together to Fulton Houses, the public housing just south of us on 9th Avenue, to continue the ministry that our faculty and students began there in the aftermath of the storm. The students from VTS will be spending the weekend on sofas and blowup mattresses in student apartments and dorm rooms here at General, and our community will be caring for them as well as we can.

Reread that last paragraph, and you will know what wonders can emerge in the midst of what seems like a disaster and nothing more. It is a disaster, indeed, but in the midst of it, those who can see something more, will see something more.

Now that we are getting back to some kind of normalcy, I will not have many more opportunities to write these memos – which some have called “pastoral letters” – to keep the GTS community aware of what is happening here in a land without electricity and heat. We who live on the Close and we who assemble here for study and prayer and a shared life are grateful for all the comments and gestures of support that have come to us as a result of these updates.

Many in our area are still without what have become basic necessities, some are living with illness and injury, some are facing death, and many are mourning the loss of those who already have died. We at GTS have been fortunate to have one another. The goodwill and charity, the self-control and forbearance on Chelsea Square have been stunningly beautiful. I am proud to have been part of it, and humbled. I know I am not alone. We are a community renewed by enduring a shared trauma in a context of compassion, hope, and trust.

Again, Psalm 133: Oh, how good and how pleasant it is! Your brother,

Patrick+ (The Rev.) Canon Patrick Malloy, PhD

From the Dean: As It Stands Today

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7 November 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,Yesterday at Morning Prayer in the Chapel, we returned to something like normal. We celebrated the Office with our coats pulled tight around us and hats on our heads. Custom being set aside, even some of us men kept our heads covered. Custom or not, what matters is that we did our officium.

The Hebrew Bible lesson assigned for that morning, from Sirach, could not have been more apt.

By his command he sends the driving snow and speeds the lightnings of his judgment.

Therefore the storehouses are opened, and the clouds fly out like birds.

In his majesty he gives the clouds their strength, and the hailstones are broken in pieces.

The voice of his thunder rebukes the earth; when he appears, the mountains shake.

At his will the south wind blows; so do the storm from the north and the whirlwind.

He scatters the snow like birds flying down, and its descent is like locusts alighting.

The eye is dazzled by the beauty of its whiteness, and the mind is amazed as it falls.

Few Christians would claim that God, the Merciful, sent the destruction that has devastated so many people in the past week. Yet, few would claim that, even sandwiched between a hurricane and a freezing nor’easter, the God who is forever revealing the Divine Self is not to be found: God’s command, God’s majesty, God’s will, God’s dazzling beauty mirrored in creation. “And the mind is amazed.”

We finished the Office, had breakfast, and went back to our classrooms and offices. The day went on without a hitch.

Many of our own GTS families, as well as families from the surrounding neighborhoods, depend upon our Children’s Garden (http://www.gts.edu/childrens-garden41) for day care. As the Seminary started up again, so did the Children’s Garden. Ms. Susan Stein and her colleagues took up their work in unheated buildings. They are part of our ministry here at GTS, and they are working in far-from-ideal situations to allow our seminarians and their partners to get back to work, and others who have given their children into our care. Caring for children is always a challenge, but doing it in such stressed circumstances is almost heroic, so we owe our partners thanks and admiration.

Working in the cold is not easy, nor is living in the cold. Many of us here still are. As I reported two days ago, Dodge and Kohne Halls have heat now, thanks to the geothermal system. The rest of the residence halls, however, are still without heat. Thanks to Mr. Anthony Khani, space heaters have been secured and distributed to households on the Close. Space heaters are a good solution for now, but no one thinks they are a long-term fix. Anthony, in close collaboration with Fr. Lang Lowrey, our President, is working to get steam back into our radiators, and I am confident that the work will soon pay off.

As I write to you, Wednesday evening at 8:00, it is 32F in Manhattan. The wind is not extreme, but cold rain and snow have been falling since early afternoon. The sidewalks are covered with slush. It is not a good time to be without heat. What people say about a damp cold being colder than a dry cold is true. Many of us here on Chelsea Square are doing out best to fend off the chill and continue our work.

Even in “the driving snow,” General Seminary continues to be a community committed to its mission. Our ever-growing cohort of commuters – students, staff, and a few faculty members – worked against tremendous obstacles to be here the past two days. And those who live on the Close are of good cheer. I have seen members of this community who were ready to make a cutting comment about another member of the community pause, recognizing the harm their unkind comment could do, and stopping mid-sentence. I have seen others ready to whine about the discomfort of our common life these days (Who wants to eat lunch trying to manage flatware while wearing gloves?) catching themselves and holding their peace. It has been very gratifying.

Our beloved sisters and brothers at Sewanee give a highly-prized award every year, the “Ecce quam Bonum” award. The name comes from the first words of Psalm 133.

Ecce quam bonum and quam jucundum est Habitare fratres in unum.

The BCP Psalter (page 787) translates it as:

Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *    when brethren live together in unity!

At General, during these often potentially fractious days, we have lived together in unity. How good and how pleasant!

At Evensong tonight, I was halfway down the aisle, all dressed like a penguin, before I realized that Dr. David Hurd, our remarkable Professor of Church Music and Director of Chapel Music, was playing a variation... an improvisation... (I wish I were a musician so I would know the right term!) on “Frosty, the Snow Man.” Gradually, we all got it. And so, gradually, we all smiled. And some of us laughed. And so, becoming joyfully mindful of the God who is ever present, we came into the presence of God with joy, as Psalm 100 (BCP 729) exhorts us to do.

Be joyful in the LORD all you lands; Serve the LORD with gladness And come before his presence with a song.

And so we did.

Before the procession began, however, and before Dr. Hurd began his clever and very pastoral music, the community had begun its sacred play. Here we see Mr. Peter Secor, MA, Diocese of New Jersey; Mr. William Ogburn, MDiv, Diocese of Pittsbugh; Ms. Lauren Holder, MDiv, Diocese of North Carolina; Mother Mary Julia Jett, Diocese of Montana; and Father James Reho, our chaplain and doer of many good things. The hats, scarves, and coats were not a spoof. This is how we made ourselves ready to sing and listen and pray in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd tonight. Ecce quam bonum and quam jucundum est!

We are grateful for the continuing support of you all. We, with you, are prayerfully mindful of those who have suffered and are suffering and will suffer far more than we can imagine.

As always, I ask you to pass this along to those who might want to know what is going on at General, especially our bishops.

Yours fraternally, Patrick+ (The Rev.) Patrick Malloy, PhD

From the Dean: Starting Up Again

5 November 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Today was pivotal in General's return to normal. The staff, faculty, and administration were onsite -- those of us who could be -- and we went back to work. In fact, we never stopped working. So many of our colleagues worked in extraordinary ways since the storm overtook us and the damage was done, like Donna Ashley who walked to GTS from her Upper Westside apartment twice last week to support us residents. Many others, like Tonja Withers, who had an Internet connection, passed information along to our colleagues who had only a phone or text connection. I don't think anyone stopped working. The good thing today was that we were all in the same place at the same time, shoulder-to-shoulder.

In the renovation of the Close, all of the faculty and administrative offices were moved to Seabury Hall. Seabury also includes three classrooms (including our largest one, Seabury Auditorium). Thanks to Anthony Khani, the entire building was warm today. In the renovation, while some of the rooms got self-contained heating/cooling units, some got only cooling units: no heat. Today, Anthony retrofitted those units so they could also supply heating. This gives us three large classrooms that are heated. The Keller Library, to which heat has also been restored, has a number of small conference rooms that are sufficient for some classes. This leaves us with plenty of heated space so we can resume our normal schedule tomorrow, Tuesday, 6 November. Please see the schedule posted on the website (http://gts.edu/attachments/Michaelmas2012CourseSchedule.pdf) for an updated list of room assignments.

We will begin our day tomorrow, 8:00, with Morning Prayer in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. This will return us to our normal liturgical horarium. Breakfast will be available in the Refectory from 7:00–9:00. (The contribution of Ms. Melinda Choi, Chef Justin Poly, and their associates at Aramark to our common life cannot be praised sufficiently, nor can we give ample thanks. In many ways, they have allowed us to stay bonded to one another, and they have energized us during the past week.)

Community_Meeting
Community_Meeting

The community – staff, students, faculty, administration, in a meeting we held today, seemed to be of one mind that we should assemble in the unheated Chapel (rather than in a heated space) for all the liturgies as we reopen. People want to get back to normal. Even though the Chapel is cold and will become even colder as the nor’easter blows in, I discerned that the mind of the group was to return to the Chapel of the Good Shepherd.

As I called the group to order today – and it was the largest group of students and their families I have seen since I arrived four years ago – there was a cry to begin with prayer. And so we did. The sense that we are about God’s work is deep. It gives me hope for GTS and for our beloved Episcopal Church.

Some buildings on the Close other than Seabury have heat. Thanks to the work of Mr. Khani, his advisors, and his vendors, heat has been restored to Dehon and Kohne. These buildings are heated with geothermal wells. In residential buildings where there is not yet heat, Anthony and others have provided space heaters. As you can see, my living room is 64 degrees as I type this. That is 30-degrees above the temperature outdoors.

Even if we are not as warm as we normally would be, we are better than if these units had not been secured for us. I am comfortable, and my fellow Chelsea Square residents seem to be equally content. What I have said during the past week, I say again. The goodness and forbearance of GTS people is stunning.

Behind the scenes, President Lowrey and Mr. Khani are working with our partners in the hotel to restore heat to the entire Close. At a leadership conference call today, they filled us in on the work they have done, the progress they have made, and the challenges that face them. The greatest challenge is the oil-fired boiler system, which heats much of the western part of the Close: from the Chapel to 10th Avenue. It was under 16 feet of seawater a few days ago, and the damage to many electrical components, as you can imagine, is devastating. At the same time as we are facing this devastation, so are hundreds of other buildings in New York City compromised. Securing parts and labor to repair our system is a struggle. We have called in influential friends, but we must be realistic. We may not soon have heat in our western buildings.

Hoffman Hall, as you know, is one of those western buildings. It is heated by geothermal wells that have not yet been restored. So are the buildings that together make up the hotel. We have had a record number of reservations for the Paddock Lectures, scheduled for next week, and that event is centered in those 10th Avenue buildings. When alumni and alumnae come back to General for the Lectures, we are all enriched, and old friendships are renewed.

Yet with little possibility of us using the hotel, the Refectory, or any of the rooms in Hoffman Hall, we have decided with reluctance to cancel the event this year. With Donna Ashley, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement, and Father Stuart Kenworthy, president of the AEC, we have decided that we cannot move ahead with the alumni gathering or the Paddock Lectures this year. Our scheduled speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Drescher, is a significant voice in the Church’s conversation with modern social media. Ms. Ashley and I have had conversations with Dr. Drescher, a committed Episcopalian. She promises to reschedule with us next year. To not have the Paddock Lectures and not to give our alumni/alumnae an opportunity to gather is to forfeit a great opportunity. We know what a loss it is, but we have no choice.

At this time tomorrow, we at General will be one day into our new normal. If you read the web or the newspapers, you will know that NYC and the surrounding states will not be back to “normal” soon. (I cannot imagine the anguish in New Jersey’s shore communities, or in Staten Island, or in the Rockaways.) We at General, though, will do our best to pray the Offices, celebrate the Eucharist, and keep up our common life and common mission. In short, we will strive (with God’s help) to continue in the apostles’ fellowship and teaching, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers. And we will (with God’s help) strive to seek and serve Christ in all persons.

Members of our community – students and faculty alike – are reaching out to many who have been crushed by the storm, especially the residents of the Fulton Houses, just south of General on 9th Avenue. Perhaps some of you who are reading this letter would like to help.

The opportunities for being servants for the sake of God-manifest-in-Jesus have multiplied for us, but, most of all, we have now been given the chance to witness that the salvation manifest in the earthly Jesus is manifest still in his Body, the Church. If GTS can witness to the presence of Christ in the world today, the struggle of the past week and the weeks to come will not have been in vain.

Please do all you can to circulate this memo, so our friends and alums will know what is happening on Chelsea Square.

Your brother, Patrick+

The Rev. Canon Patrick Malloy, PhD Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Liturgics The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church 440 West 21st Street New York, New York 10011

STORM UPDATE: Classes Cancelled for Monday, Community Meeting Called

On Saturday evening, November 3, 2012, the Rev. Canon Patrick Malloy, dean of General Seminary, sent a pastoral letter to the seminary community describing continuing struggles on the Close in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Importantly, classes will NOT be held on Monday, November 5, 2012, after all, and the community is asked to come together, as many as possible, for an afternoon meeting to decide next steps. Staff members are to attempt to come to work, if it is safe and feasable to do so. Here is Dean Malloy's letter: Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As I reported yesterday, power has been restored to the Close. I am sitting in my living room with plenty of light. My kitchen is in working order, so dinner is on the stove. It is the same in all of the residential units here, and we are all very grateful. The roar of the gasoline-powered generator has been silenced, the phone and laptop charging station has vanished, and, indeed, we are glad. Still, we cannot be 100% confident that what we have gained will last. This past week, Con Edison has been shutting off power in other neighborhoods, occasionally, as needed for the benefit of the entire grid. Meanwhile, the weather forecast calls for the temperatures in NYC to drop significantly in the next two days, and we do not have heat. Things are much better, but we are far from normal.

I had originally told you, after consultation with the other administrators, faculty members, and student officials, that we would be open and back to our regular routine on Monday. It turns out that my decision was premature. General will NOT be back to business-as-usual on Monday. Here are the reasons.

  • Earlier today, I asked all of you to let me know how things were off the Close. We come from all over the tristate area. Some of you have told me that you are without the basic necessities and doubt that you could come to Chelsea without unreasonable effort, if not personal risk.
  • The damage to our heating system here is more extensive than we thought. We cannot expect to have heat restored to the Close immediately. How soon it can be restored, I cannot say. Mr. Khani, with technicians and vendors, is working to determine what we need and when we can get it.
  • Only one classroom on the Close has heating units that do now draw upon the boiler or geothermal systems: Seabury Auditorium. In the renovation, self-contained cooling/heating units were installed there. All the other classrooms and public spaces, however, including the Chapel and the Refectory, depend on heating systems that will not be operative on Monday. The Sherrod Hall classrooms, the 21st Street Room, and the Close Room do not have units that generate heat.
  • The temperature is about to fall to below freezing in NYC, and we cannot hold classes in spaces that cold.

Consequently, we will NOT hold classes on Monday, nor will our liturgical life resume. Here is the plan.

  • Staff members should attempt to come to work. We will be able to heat workspaces, even if it means using space heaters. Please be in contact with your manager to work out the details. We are well aware that setting a firm start time is not only unreasonable but also impossible. Please contact you managers to discuss when (and if) you can come to work.
  • Lunch will be served in the Refectory from 12:20 until 2:00. That will be a time for us to socialize and commiserate, but also to begin substantive, if informal, conversations about how to move forward.
  • At 2:00, we will meet in Seabury Auditorium to discuss precisely how we will move forward. It will be crucial that as many people as possible from every constituency be there: students (commuting and residential), faculty, administration, and staff. Often, some groups in our community do not attend such meetings, perhaps because they think that they are not really significant in our common life. I assure you, whoever you are, that is not so. We need everyone there. Please make every effort to attend, as long as you are personally safe, so that, together, we can make decisions about the seminary's next steps. Managers can help to ensure a full turn-out.
  • Please assume that all other scheduled activities for Monday on the Close, e.g., Fr. Reho's workshop on writing resumes, are cancelled. After our community conversation on Monday, we will write with new information for the rest of next week.

Please, as we gear up for Monday, feel free to contact me. The best solution to the challenges that face all of us will come from the input of all of us. I will post this to Facebook, as I have my other messages this week. Will you please do all you can to circulate this memo? Thank you.

I hope you are warm. I hope you are well.

Your brother, Patrick+

STORM UPDATE: A Letter, Then Light!

General Seminary's dean, the Rev. Canon Patrick Malloy, traveled from Chelsea Square to midtown this afternoon in order to send a pastoral letter updating the wider community about life on the close in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And then, just a moment after he sent it, light! Electricity has returned to Chelsea Square! November 2, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Lunch today was the last time the residential community will assemble before the weekend. We used the time to bring one another up to date and to plan for the next few days. People c

ontinue to be in stunningly good moods. It is very edifying. Now, don't doubt that we are growing weary in various ways. It's cold in our homes. The simplest tasks demand a lot of work. When the sun sets, we have two choices: the heated reception area or bed. Julia Heard told me at lunch that this is the longest camping trip she's ever been on. Even in that comment, you can see that hardships are not creating hard hearts. People are of good cheer.After lunch, the children put on a puppet show for us in Seabury Auditorium. It was the culmination of all sorts of activities arranged for them today by Professor Robyn Neville and her husband, Damian, along with Michael and Melissa Rau. Professor Amy Lamborn mentioned to me that her daughter, Caroline, is not interested in the option of moving in with friends north of the City until the power is restored. She is having too much fun with the other young people on the Close.

Many people have left, though. At lunch, we estimated that only 25 of us will be on the Close this weekend. The crowd has steadily thinned as people have gone in search of basic creature comforts. One of those who has stayed put is Fr. J. Robert Wright, who now lives in the Chelsea Enclave, the condominium that replaced the old front building. Various ones of us have checked on him every day, and students have taken him meals from the Refectory. He is fine and, like the rest of us, making the best of a bad situation.

ConEd has said that we will have power by midnight tomorrow, Saturday. Some new outlets, however, are claiming that the Mayor promises that it will happen today. As soon as we have lights, I'll let you know. In either case, I cannot imagine that we will not be up and running Monday morning.

The outpouring of kindness and concern has been humbling. On behalf of the Mission Committee at VTS, Professor James Farwell wrote to offer help. (Many of you know Fr. Farwell from his days teaching liturgy at General.) Dean Joseph Britton of Berkeley at Yale has sent us the good wishes of the Council of Deans (of Episcopal seminaries) as well as assuring us of his own prayers. Dr. James Turrell reached out from Sewanee by internet and phone. He assured us that our sisters and brothers there are mindful of us, too. The Episcopal students from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, who take some GTS courses remotely, have been monitoring life on the Close and have let me know that they are thinking of us. We are being well prayed for.

These daily memos I have sent to you I have also posted to Facebook, and others have reposted them on their own FB pages. From all over the country, people have added comments, assuring us of their care and concern. Jeanne Person, who lives in Brooklyn and has not lost power or phone, has fielded many notes and calls for the rest of us. Mother Person has said that a great many people have asked how to help. She forwarded one offer of funds for "supplies or toiletries, a few pizzas, a keg....it doesn't matter, as long as it reminds the recipients that they are being surrounded by prayers and caring from afar." How can you beat that? And we are, indeed, aware of how many people are prayerfully mindful of us.

Two weeks ago in my Dean's report to the Trustees, I likened GTS to a patient who has been successfully triaged. The floor is strewn with bloody bandages, though, and the patient is left wondering what just happened. Now begin the days of rehab. As this week has unfolded, I have wondered if the storm has not pushed us forward in the deep healing that we need. The community has been drawn together. We have seen for ourselves how resilient we are and how incredibly generous. Forbearance, creativity, and tenderness have flooded the Close along with the water. That is not to say that we want all this inconvenience to continue. It is only to say that in the midst of it, God seems to have brought forth great good at General Seminary.

As soon as we have power again, I will let you know. In the meantime, please do as I have asked every day and forward this to those who might want to know. Yesterday, it occurred to me that our Bishops may not have been able to reach us, and they may be wondering how we are, especially those of us who are seminarians. Can you please forward this and any of my other memos to diocesan bishops? Thanks.

A good weekend to you all! Thanks for you persistent interest in what is happening here and your many gestures of support.

Fraternally, Patrick+

STORM UPDATE: A Letter from Dean Malloy

Storm-Update.jpg

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 Dear Sisters and Brothers, dear friends of General Seminary,

I have again escaped to Midtown where the power is flowing and the Internet is readily accessible. On Chelsea Square, not much has changed since I wrote to you yesterday. ConEd has not restored power and we are discovering just how dependent we are on electricity. We are also learning how dependent we are on one another. Rather than becoming more irritable, the members of the residential community seem to be growing more kind and generous. It is humbling. The disaster is bringing out the best in us. Members of the leadership who cannot be with us have been in touch by phone and Internet as much as possible, and I have spoken to Lang throughout each day since we realized how serious the storm was going to be. The members of the faculty have been everywhere on campus, offering support to the students and collaborating with them in a project of mutual support and care. We are doing a wonderful job of being the community we claim to be.

In Chelsea, only buildings with their own generators have power, and they are few. At night, the streets are dark, but they are safe. There has been no unrest, and the police are doing a good job of lighting major intersections and marking others with flares. The traffic lights, of course, are out. On the Close, we have mounted flashlights above doorways, keeping our own “intersections” marked and safe.Anthony Khani has brought a gasoline-powered generator to Chelsea Square, allowing us to keep our laptops and cell phones charged. While we can’t access the Internet, making the laptops only minimally useful, we have discovered that here and there on the Close, even if only for a few minutes at a time, we can snag a cell signal. People want to be ready with a charged phone.

The generator also allows us to keep one room warm and, perhaps the thing for which people are most grateful, to keep a pot of coffee brewing. In the same room, Dr. Anne Keating has installed two working landlines. We are grateful to her and to Mr. Khani. The students staffing “Command Central” are doing a wonderful job of fostering a sense of calm and mutual care. Seniors Michael Meaney and Rebecca Myers have been efficient and cheerful. President and Vice-President of the Community Council, Walt Kindergan and Matt Welch, have been steady leaders. They have modeled the “non-anxious presence” that Rabbi Friedman has taught us is so important in ministry.

In many ways, life on the Close has continued apace, despite the uncommon ways we have been forced to hold some things together. Yesterday, while we still had daylight, we celebrated the Eucharist in the Refectory. The day was overcast and the Chapel was too dark. Dr. Katherine Shaner, who teaches New Testament, presided.

Thanks to Melinda Choi of Aramark, our Refectory schedule has not been disrupted. We were promised only scaled back meals, but they have been anything but that. Today, we had three hot entrees at lunch, soup, dessert, and plenty for making take-away sandwiches. Chef Justin Poly has taken very good care of us under very difficult circumstances. (In the photo, you will see that people wore hats and coats to lunch today. The food was hot but the room was cold.)

Behind the scenes, workers continue to pump water out of the basement of the hotel. We have heard that ConEd is monitoring the readiness of individual buildings to have power restored, and so we want to make sure that all of the structures on Chelsea Square have dry basements. The photo below shows water continuing to flow out of the hotel onto 10th Avenue. Turn the corner onto 21st Street, though, and you would think that nothing at all had happened in Manhattan. The sky today was blue and, were the streets not far more quiet than usual, it looked and felt like any crisp autumn day. On the Close, our maintenance workers have been tireless in cleaning up debris left by the storm. One of them, Rodney (whose surname I unfortunately do not know), bicycled from Brooklyn yesterday to take care of us, and three of them have stayed with us day and night. Two have slept on the odd sofa. One slept last night in the guest room of Fr. Drew and Ms. Paula Kadel. The GTS community has been incredibly generous.

So the news from General Seminary is good. We are all well. We have improvised where systems have failed, and we are taking good care of one another. That is not to say that we are not a bit weary and stir crazy. (I was relieved to come to Midtown to write this updates, make phone calls, and track email: 94 new messages in the past 22 hours.) One-by-one, some of us who have nearby friends and relatives are finding ways to travel to them and the joys of electric lights and hot water. Today, I saw Middlers Mark Genzler and Br. Maximilian Kolbe Lebus, SSF, working on their bikes, not so they could exercise or see the sites, but so they could escape for a while. Still, cabin fever has not brought any tension or unkindness to GTS. Just the opposite has happened.

It is impossible to know when we will have electric lights and hot water on the Close again. The Times is reporting that only 2000 of the 220,000 ConEd customers who lost power when a 14th Street substation was knocked out by water have had their electricity restored. I think we are part of the 220,000, so the odds of a quick fix are small. Limited subway service will begin tomorrow, but nothing below 34th Street. Miles of tunnels and stations on our end of the Island are still flooded. Limited service is also being restored on Metro-North and the LIRR, so some of our commuter staff, students, and faculty may soon be able to get to Manhattan. Things are getting better, but only slowly. We plan to be back to normal by Morning Prayer on Monday, but that may not happen. Please watch for further messages from me. Dr. Keating is working to get the website (www.gts.edu) up. On the homepage will be a button, “Storm Update,” where you will find the latest news.

We know that many of our friends are praying for us, and we are grateful. Would you please also help us by circulating this and other email you receive from us?

Should this letter reach any of the residents of the Close, remember that information is being steadily updated on the bulletin board in the mailroom in Moore Hall. Please post anything that you think would be useful to the rest of us.

Last night, some students tried to reach me by calling my cell. Of course, it didn’t work. If you need me in the night, please knock on the door of Moore 2W. The door is just outside my bedroom, and I will surely hear you.

I will write again tomorrow or, if something significant should happen, sooner.

I, and all of us on the Close, hope that all of you who receive this letter are safe and that the storm has not greatly disrupted your life. Happy Halloween! Whoever came up with the name, “Frankenstorm,” really nailed it.

Fraternally,

(The Rev.) Canon Patrick Malloy, PhD