When You Can’t Drink the Water
These are strange days in Hoosick Falls, and my heart goes out to the good folks of the congregation I serve there and to all residents. Our congregation is wonderful and resilient, even in times like these. Hoosick Falls has been in the news a lot lately, because the water is contaminated with PFOA, a cancer-related substance produced in the manufacture of plastics. The water has probably been contaminated for many years.
In the short term, residents are receiving bottled water (the church too). But imagine having to ask yourself if you should wash the dishes with tap water, or how long you should stay in the shower. Think about how different church coffee hour would be. It comes down to things like- do I wash my hands before serving communion? If we wash the dishes and then rinse them with bottled water, will that suffice?
The long-term implications are more precarious. What about the children who grew up in the village and moved away? Who will get sick? How in the world will people sell their property?
Many congregations have reached out to our congregation, and we greatly appreciate the prayers and offers of support. This weekend, Feb. 27-28, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) will be sending a team to meet with community leaders. At this point, they want to hear how PDA can help and how best to offer emotional and spiritual support in this time of great stress. Thanks to Shannan Vance-Ocampo who suggested the idea and reached out to PDA. (We have also suffered pipe breakages, with contaminated water coming through the ceiling. That’s a topic for another blog!)
Through it all, we continue to worship, pray and reach out to neighbors in need. Life is precarious, but God is good. Please continue to hold the people in Hoosick Falls in your prayers.