At first glance, things looked pretty good at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Melbourne after Hurricane Irma roared through in mid-September.
The church’s historic chapel that dates to 1886 was still standing. “I was so thankful to God that it was still standing,” says co-rector Fr. Stephen Easterday.
Things were a little different, however, in the church. When Easterday walked in, he was greeted by a smell. “I knew then that we had water damage, and that we needed to dry things out quickly,” he said.
Specifically, the school courtyard flooded and surface water went into the parish hall and prayer room. Water also penetrated the walls and windows on the east side of the church and nursery rooms.
With no electricity at the church, drying things out could have been an impossible task. But help arrived.
“Through the hard work of volunteers who showed up with generators to power the water removal company’s equipment, the church was able to dry out the spaces flooded in the first six days after the hurricane,” Easterday said.
The church is bouncing back and is proceeding with repairs, and it has been a monstrous task.
“Four thousand square feet of carpet has now been ordered to replace carpets that were spoiled in the flood,” Easterday said. “Wallboard has now been removed and replaced in the nursery rooms, and we are investigating ways to reseal the east wall of the church.”
In addition to the water damage, the steeple cross was blown down, signage was stripped from buildings, and trees were snapped in two. The steeple cross was recovered from a classroom roof and will be restored by a parishioner.
The parish also lost trees and a fence. Easterday summed it up this way: “All in all, we are grateful to God that the damage was limited, and that the repairs are now in process. We hold in prayer those who suffered much greater damage.”
Those who wish to help expedite Holy Trinity’s repair process are welcome to donate or volunteer for the church. For more information, call 321-723-5272.