As Senior Warden Ryan O’Connell reported in his mid-year newsletter, a major project is underway to address water infiltration issues in the bell tower and two sections of our roofs. We realized that we had a major water infiltration problem on our hands when the front door was removed for maintenance just before Palm Sunday, and water trickled out steadily from between the walls!
Work is already underway by Superstructures (SSX), the architectural/engineering firm that we have retained to help us with this project. Phase 1 is the testing/investigation stage. By using probes, taking samples, and performing water testing, SSX will determine the cause of the water infiltration issues and will develop a plan to address those issues.
The photo shows the primary areas that are being addressed in this project. In addition, SSX will examine all the exteriors of our buildings, to see if there are other existing or developing issues.
We anticipate that SSX’s preliminary assessment will be available by the end of September and will keep you posted. Our very preliminary estimate is that the total cost of the renovation project may be up to $500,000. However, that estimate could change after SSX completes its assessment.
St. John’s Church Makes Its 11th Service Trip to Nicaragua with Bridges to Community
By Linnet Tse, Junior Warden
WHY? “It's easy for us to get set in our ways at home. To go out on mission means to encounter God in the lives of people whose living circumstances are dramatically different from ours. To serve alongside someone who doesn't have the creature comforts that we enjoy opens our eyes to our God-given privileges. Each time we serve through mission, we follow directly the mandate of Jesus to love one another.” Fr. Joe Greene
2017 marks the eleventh time that members of St. John’s Church have journeyed to Nicaragua with Ossining-based Bridges to Community (BTC) to build houses. Coincidentally this eleventh Nicaraguan mission trip included eleven hard working volunteers on the St. John’s team, several who have made the trek multiple times. Participants included parishioners Abby, Pete, and Tim Bennitt, Freya Cantwell, Frank Pierson, Axel Steinmetz and Linnet Tse.
BTC, is a non-for-profit community development and service learning organization that promotes cross-cultural partnerships and sustainable community development. The team spent an intense four days building a house in the very poor community of San Joaquin, located 45 minutes southeast of Managua where villagers live in tiny structures “built” with scavenged corrugated metal, sticks, plastic sheeting and cardboard. The St. John’s team performed the back breaking labor of sifting sand, mixing cement, digging holes for foundation footings, hauled wheel barrels laden with sand, lifting and assembling cinder blocks and securing them into place with mortar.
The community we worked in: San Joaquín, which is located about 45 minutes southeast of Managua, is rated one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the region. Most of the homes there are “built” with scavenged material – scraps of corrugated metal, sticks, plastic sheeting, and cardboard – which provide little protection from the elements or from disease. St. John’s hopes to work with BTC in San Joaquín over the next several years.
This year’s beneficiary family consisted of a mother, Doña Maria, her husband Don Rafael, and their two young daughters, Liz (4) and Nicole (9). Their house had been destroyed in the rainy season forcing them to live in one-room corrugated tin structure.
What we got out of the experience: This eye-opening and life-changing experience not only broadens perspectives but also creates strong relationships with the families, community members, local masons and craftsmen. Members of the community, including the beneficiary family work alongside the St. John’s team to build the house.
Volunteers also gained insight into the struggles and challenges that Nicaraguans face daily. For first-time participant Abby Bennitt, a junior at Mamaroneck High School, “one of the main things that really hit home was the notion that the educational opportunities that I take for granted are considered by members of this Nicaraguan community to be a luxury. . . something that is very accessible here is nearly impossible for them. The community we were working in didn't have a high school, and the added expense of going to school in Nicaragua made it hard for many kids to receive any education beyond elementary school.”
College sophomore and third-time volunteer Axel Steinmetz maintains that he gets much more out of the experience than he contributes, and that keeps him going back year after year. For Axel, what stood out was “just how life-changing the service work we do there is and experiencing the Nicaraguan culture while interacting with the local people and children. When I see just how much I have changed one family’s life with just a week of work, I can’t help but want to go back."
SAVE THE DATE! Our 2018 trip to Nicaragua is scheduled for June 23-30. For more information, please contact Fr. Joe Greene, Linnet Tse, or Carla Berry.