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Eastern storms damage two UU churches

Church basements and rugs the victims of late-June downpours
By Donald E. Skinner
7.7.06

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Heavy rains in the last week of June damaged two Unitarian Universalist congregations’ buildings when a storm front stalled over central New York, northeast Pennsylvania, and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. The flooding killed at least 20 people.

Four to five feet of water flooded the church basement of the UU Congregation of Binghamton, N.Y., when the Susquehanna River overflowed, destroying boxes of used books for the next church book sale and part of its supply of Equal Exchange coffee that it was using and selling at coffee hour, said the Rev. Douglas Taylor.

The floodwaters also destroyed a rug, cabinets, shelves, papers, and many toys belonging to the Riverside Drive Nursery School, which rented one room of the church basement.

Taylor said many members of the congregation were evacuated or experienced minor basement flooding. Two or three members had more significant damage. He added, “Thankfully it is all property damage. The waters have receded and we have begun the process of sorting, pitching, cleaning, drying out, and cleaning again. We look forward to being able to use these rooms again in three to four weeks.”

The lower level of the UU Church of Arlington, Va., flooded when rainwater came in under a door, but damage was mostly confined to rugs and was easily cleaned up, said Bill Peters, administrator.

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