November 1, 2012

I’m finally getting back to the Chancellor’s Diary after a few days of being caught in the air travel chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy. But I’m writing from Ottawa because LaGuardia airport is still closed and I couldn’t get back to New York from Chicago, where I was attending a special event organized by St Vladimir’s Seminary.

Downed spruce tree at St. Vladimir’s Seminary

And with the power still likely to be out for some time at the Chancery and much of Long Island, with trees and telephone poles down, and with gas and food shortages, I’m being advised to stay put. The OCA’s Department of Christian Service and Humanitarian Aid is asking people to make donations toward relief efforts through International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), which has already mobilized to assist victims of the storm. The Metropolitan Council’s Charity Committee has authorized an initial $5000 to be sent to IOCC.

Fr. Eric Tosi has been monitoring the situation at the Chancery but he and his family, like everyone else who works at there and most people in Long Island, continue to have no power, no Internet connections and spotty cell-phone access. I am grateful to Fr. John Matusiak (Wheaton, Illinois) and Ryan Platte (Rochester, NY) for keeping the communications going through the website. Ryan is our part-time Technical Manager and also runs a farm in upstate New York. Yesterday, in-between posting news items and launching the beautifully redesigned home page, he wrote:

“For your workplace amusement I’ll share that I am presently the muddiest of Orthodox Technical Managers, having just conducted my first sheep-wrestling match! Our two sheep worked their portable pen open and were noshing elsewhere in the field, probably 175 feet away…and boy do they weigh a LOT more than they did when we bought ‘em in June!”

Earlier yesterday I also had an email from a priest suggesting an alternative prayer in response to Hurricane Sandy.

“Lord, shake us up. Remind us of the beauty and power of Nature’s cleansing gales and winds and hurricanes, instead of cursing them as un-natural. Through them You have taught us stewardship, yet in our hubris we still build shelters along the sea, and when they crumble we ask you to still the playful oceans, so that we can continue packing into cities of millions greedily making our fortunes—but we will still keep asking You to fix everything…”