After the storm, a leaf still hangs on.
Photo by Eric Anderson
Contact Conference Staff
South Central Region
Northwest Central Region
Disaster Response Staff Liaison
by Eric Anderson
HARTFORD (10/30/2012) -- Over 600,000 utility customers remained without power in Connecticut this morning as crews began the long process of clearing downed trees, reconnecting wires, and repairing flooded substations around the state after Hurricane Sandy's high winds and storm surge struck hundreds of miles of the United States east coast last night. News reports of significant damage from the shoreline and of two deaths have prompted prayers from across the Connecticut Conference.
The Connecticut Conference's communications systems survived the storm, but Interim Conference Minister the Rev. Charles L. Wildman closed the offices at United Church Center in Hartford for a second day for the safety of the staff and to leave roads clear for necessary traffic.
With communications disrupted by power outages, the Conference still awaits word of damage to CTUCC churches. No reports had arrived by 9:00 am Tuesday. Pastors and church leaders should report damage and request aid for their local relief efforts first to their Regional Minister, and second to the Rev. Eric Anderson, liaison to the Disaster Response Team. As of 9:00 am, communication had been established to Rev. Ciba in the Southwest Region, Rev. Mitchell in the Northwest Central Region, and Rev. Clough in the Eastern Region.
During the height of the storm, said Anderson, the refrain "stay safe" lost its feel of cliche, as friend after friend described trees down and power failures. One pastor did use social media to report a tree down on the family's garage and the loss of both automobiles inside.
Roughly half of Bridgeport residents lost electricity when United Illuminating shut down flood-threatened substations to prevent catastrophic damage. UI officials told a morning press conference that they hope to restore most of the affected neighborhoods over the course of the day.
The national offices of the United Church of Christ are also closed today due to the storm. Despite being hundreds of miles away from Sandy's landfall, Cleveland suffered massive blackouts. Florence Coppola, the UCC's Executive for National Disaster Ministries, is among the few with power in the Western Reserve area of Ohio, and is following reports from the eastern seaboard.
Beyond Connecticut, residents of Long Island, New Jersey, and New York City faced massive storm flooding, wind damage, and power outages. New York Conference Minister the Rev. David Gaewski stated via Facebook that his email is out, and he is using phone services to gather news.
The Rev. Eric S. Anderson is Minister of Communications and Technology for the Connecticut Conference UCC.