Sandy

Weathering the Storm

Malloy_5809.jpeg

The Rev. Dr. Patrick Malloy

Associate Dean

During the 11:00 Eucharist at St. Bart’s on Park Avenue on Sunday, October 28, every iPhone in the church made a sound I had never heard a phone make before. It was a siren, and when I and half of the congregation looked at our screens, we saw a black triangle with a warning that we were in danger. A few hours later, the city announced that by the next day, virtually everything – even the subway – would stop.

By sunset on Monday, wind and rain began to pound the city, a part of a tree near the Chapel snapped off, and the Hudson began to rise. The water reached 10th Avenue and then the power went off. We on the Close, along with most of lower Manhattan, were in the dark until Friday evening.

Those days were surely a challenge. We lost more than our lights; we also lost cell phone service and internet. We were cut off so we pulled together. A portable generator brought some heat, a little light, and a working coffee maker to the reception area in Seabury, and there we gathered just to be together and wait. In four days of cold and darkness, I did not hear one tense word or see one unkind gesture, but plenty of hard work and mutual care. We did more than weather the storm. We grew together through it. It took a full week after the power came back for heat to be restored to most of the Close, and even then, eating and praying in hats and coats, bunched together in the Chapel for warmth, no one complained.

General Seminary is hardly limited to the Close. Half of our student body now commutes, as do our entire staff, a few of our full-time and all of our adjunct faculty members. Every afternoon, I walked north to Midtown, the “normal” Manhattan. There, I wrote updates and sent them by email and Facebook to General in the diaspora. You can read all of the letters and associated stories at news.gts.edu/sandy.

What you will read is the story of a community resilient and united, slow to anger and abounding in love. It is not a stretch to see those two weeks as a metaphor for the past two years here. Hit by a storm, we stuck together and, with limited resources, discovered how strong and alive we really are.

When I finally found a wifi zone each day, email messages and Facebook comments rolled across my screen: signs that all across the country people were thinking of us. Thank you for your concern and care for General Seminary. Along with the generator, you brought us warmth and light.

GTS and Superstorm Sandy

Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard the evening of Monday October 29, and the aftermath is well-reported in the media. But how exactly did it affect GTS? Currently GTS is operational with heat, power and hot water, but that was not always so. At 8:30 p.m. on October 29, power was knocked out to all of lower Manhattan, including GTS. This meant the loss of not only electricity, but also of heat, hot water, and cell phone service. The lower areas of some buildings in the west campus also flooded from the storm surge. Part of the damage was to the main boiler which provides heat to much of the campus. Once power was restored on November 2, it still took a few days to restart the geothermal wells that heat a some of the buildings on campus. And even today the main boiler is still not in working order and is undergoing an assessment at to the extent of the damage. In the meantime heat is being provided by a temporary boiler parked on 21st Street outside the Seminary.

The storm may have hit on Monday, but preparations were already underway at GTS the previous week. The Friday before the storm, a team assembled and decided that a special area of the website would be designated for storm updates and a link would be placed on the front page of the GTS website. This would be a central place where community members could get updates about the status of GTS. Indeed, the link was activated on Sunday, October 28 to indicate that GTS would close in preparation for the storm, and it was updated on a regular basis. Beginning the day after the storm Associate Dean Patrick Malloy also sent daily pastoral letters to the community via email with important information. These letters and updates were republished on the GTS News web site (news.gts.edu) and on our Facebook page (facebook.com/TheGeneralSeminary). Headlines from GTS News are also automatically posted to the front page of the GTS website. Throughout the power outage the Keller Library stayed open as a resource for the GTS Community, and the IT Department worked diligently to assess, protect and restore equipment on-campus. GTS staff members, some without power in their own homes, stepped up to the plate, whether to reestablish on-campus communications, to keep the library open, or to post GTS News updates from public wifi hotspots.

On November 5, staff who could safely come to work returned and a community meeting was called to discuss the way forward. Dean Malloy remarked that it was the most well-attended meeting he had seen since his arrival at GTS. At the meeting a plan was presented and revised about where to hold classes, whether to worship in an unheated chapel (yes), and how the community would move forward as things returned to normal. Classes resumed on November 6, and centralized heat was connected to the rest of the campus on November 9 using a portable boiler.

As the recovery continues, GTS students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae have all came together to help each other and the surrounding communities. GTS alums ministered to those affected by the storm and GTS and VTS postponed the annual flag football game to participate in a day of service at low-income housing near General Seminary.

Celebrating a Belated Halloween

rickortreat.jpg

The sound of children playing is not unfamiliar on the GTS campus, but on Wednesday the community was treated to the sound of singing trick-or-treaters from General's preschool, The Children's Garden. A dozen or so children made the rounds dressed in Halloween costumes for their yearly trick-or-treating. The event was postponed this year because of the effects of Superstorm Sandy, but that did not dampen the joy to both the children and the GTS community.

Rivalry to Ministry: GTS and VTS Aid Neighbors

As reported by The Episcopal Cafe, instead of the annual flag football game, Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) and General Theological Seminary (GTS) met in New York on Saturday, November 10, to help aid people in low income housing near the GTS campus. Some of buildings at Fulton Houses had been without heat since Superstorm Sandy hit New York on October 29, and the volunteers from VTS brought with them 100 blankets and 82 space heaters to distribute. As Fulton Houses recovers, it has also become a distribution point for those houses in Brooklyn and Queens still in need of care, and the volunteers from GTS and VTS aided in that effort as well. The football game will go on this coming Spring.

Read the full story on The Episcopal Cafe

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

image.jpg

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+

Keller Library is open

The Christoph Keller, Jr. Library survived the storm quite well with no damage whatsoever to the underground stacks or the glass curtain wall. We are glad to note that the Library has remained open this week, even though the lights are off and the catalog remains offline until power is restored. The Library will be open on All Souls’, Friday, November 2 from 9 am until 5 pm. We pray that power might be restored on Saturday, November 3. Once that happens, the Library will be open as usual. Click here for the latest news and for some post-storm photos. The Library website will be back up soon, and do follow our blog for the very latest information.