We postponed church today, Dec. 16th, until Wednesday night, Dec. 19th at 7:00 p.m. Earlier this week, several of my friends in other churches up and down the Eastern seaboard debated whether to cancel their Christmas Pageants, or their Sunday school rehearsals for this Sunday. Phones buzzed on Friday. Then, yesterday, our Cape Ann community heard the news that a major fire had destroyed two buildings in our downtown area, an apartment house and the Temple Ahavat Achim. One person was killed in the fire, and 22 others are homeless. The temple congregation met for Saturday service at a neighboring church, the Independent Christian Church, a Unitarian Universalist community. Our flurry of worry about our pageant gave way to greater concerns for our neighbors in need.

I spoke last night with a representative from the Red Cross volunteers who are caring for the apartment residents. The need right now is for donations of gift cards from local supermarkets, as well as the Second Glance thrift store. If people would like to donate blankets, clothing, furniture or household goods, those may be dropped off at The Action Shelter, 370 Main Street in Gloucester. The Mayor’s Office is working on a fund to help those displaced by the fire. Should you wish to donate financially, checks should be made out to “The Gloucester Fund” with a note “Middle Street Fire.” For more information, you can also go to the Temple Ahavat Achim website

I had planned to announce this today in church, but since we are postponed ’til Wednesday, I wanted to get the information out to you as quickly as possible. Pastor Anne

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