Historic Flooding, July 12, 2023

July 12, 2023

Beloved UCM Community,

What a significant, scary, and heart-breaking time it has been over the last 48 hours. The historic rainfall and flooding has left washed out roads, lost crops and ruined gardens, water-soaked homes, and uncertainty for many of us. My heart is with all of you as we face the devastating impacts of the record-breaking flooding all across the state and in downtown Montpelier.

Of course, our beloved building beside the river is right in the middle of it all.

Water levels rose throughout the night on Monday and into Tuesday morning reaching above the threshold of the back door on the north side of the building. Our Property Committee Chair, Kris Hammer, and Sexton, Jason Kass, have been key responders along with a team of others who have been monitoring the situation all along. They discovered that the basement was full of water, and water had also gotten into the first floor.

Waters receded by yesterday evening, and we began pumping at about 10pm. Pumping will continue for the next couple of hours and then we’ll pass our borrowed pump along to the next church who is in need of it.

There will be a fair amount of clean up to do at the building today just as there will be for other downtown churches, businesses, and establishments. We will do what needs to be done while also trying to keep streets clear for road crews and public works teams to do what they need to do.

If you are able to assist today, you are welcome to come to the church building anytime after 8am. Please keep in mind that parking is limited, and it is best if you are able to arrive on foot or by some other means than driving. Most surface areas are also very slippery because of silt left behind, so wear shoes with good traction. The following items would be helpful:
– large contractor bags
– your own N-95 mask, gloves, and drinking water
– mops and buckets

Please don’t worry if you can’t make it to the building to help with clean up today. There will likely be much more to do in the days to come. I know that many of you will have your own clean up to tend to as well. If you can assist others in the church community with their recovery efforts and/or with church clean up and repair, you’re welcome to complete this form so we can be in touch.

You can let us know if you’re needing help in any way by giving me a call at (802) 829-7420 or completing this Caring Network request form.

As we continue our recovery and repair efforts, we will share updates on both the status of the building and ways to help on both our public Facebook page as well as on the church website.

Of course, this church is much more than just the building. One of the most important things we can be doing is reaching out to our neighbors and other church members and friends to see how they’re doing and what support they might need. Our connections and small helpful actions will help us get through this.

I have been buoyed by the calls, text messages, and emails of support I have received from UU colleagues and congregations near and far. Many people care about this congregation and are holding us with love and care in this difficult time.

I am also finding solace in the nearly 160-year history of this church – both the building and the people. This community has faced a lot together, including major flooding in 1927, 1992, and 2011. In all those times, we have come together with patience, compassion, and care. Let us do so again now.

Rev. Joan

PS – There will be ways to help our greater Montpelier community and beyond recover from this disaster. You can sign up with Montpelier Alive and also check out this mutual aid Facebook group to both seek support and offer help.