At Good Shepherd Hemet, a large quantity of water damaged the ground underneath the sanctuary on February 14, rendering the sanctuary unusable for the present, since walls are showing cracks and may be beginning to buckle. Members of the church rescued all movable property from the building but are waiting for a determination on the cause of the water damage, and whether the separate Parish Hall building is safe for occupancy. The congregation is currently worshiping in the building once occupied by St. Stephen’s in Menifee while they await a resolution of safety inspections and insurance claims. We are grateful for the leadership of rector The Rev. Susan Latimer, who has guided the congregation through this difficult time as they discern next steps.
A fire struck a classroom building at St. Philip’s on the morning of April 28. The interior of the building was destroyed, but the overall structure appears to be structurally sound. No one was injured, for which we give thanks to God. A neighbor saw smoke coming from the building and reported it. The fire department responded with seven fire trucks, and firefighters got the fire under control and inspected the roof and interior walls to make sure the whole fire was extinguished. Fr. Carlos Garcia was present to assist the fire department in entering the building, and we are grateful for his leadership there. We are also grateful that the sanctuary and parish hall buildings were not affected by the fire. The classroom building is mostly used by outside groups such as AA, NA, and the Aztec dancers who practice at St. Philip’s.
In both cases, we are very thankful that no one has been injured, and that both congregations have great leadership. We are also thankful for insurance coverage, although we know that there will be deductibles to pay as the claims are resolved.
Bishop Susan Brown Snook said, “While we are deeply concerned about the damage to these two church buildings, we give thanks to God that it was only the buildings that were damaged, not the people, and that no one was injured. Both congregations remain strong, with good leadership, and we have faith that the damage will be repaired, and they will move forward in ministry.”
Compassionate God … Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life. We ask you to bring comfort to your people at Good Shepherd Hemet and St. Philip’s Lemon Grove. We give you thanks that no one was injured in the disasters that struck them, and we ask you to guide them through a process of repair and restoration, giving them all the resources they need for their recovery. All this we pray through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen
– adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Church Publishing: New York), page 733
If you would like to contribute to the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund to help the two congregations offset the costs of these disasters, please click here to donate, or send checks to: Bishop’s Discretionary Fund, 2083 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego, CA 92106.
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