The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, shut down New York City and left residents in a state of shock. Churches opened their doors to comfort and care for all who came to seek refuge and pray for healing. As we mark the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, United Methodists recall how New York congregations responded to the needs of the community after 9/11.
Note: This video was edited from its original form that was published in 2016 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
(Locator: New York, NY)
In the hours and days following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, United Methodist churches in New York near Ground Zero opened their doors.
The Rev. Stephen Bauman, Christ Church United Methodist: “It was standing room only here.”
From the first day, members mobilized--stepping up feeding programs and offering counseling. Doing what people of faith do when neighbors need comfort and hope.
Jackie DeGroat: “My friend and I got a list of every family in the church with kids and called everyone and said, 'Are you okay? Are your kids okay?'”
Paul Pillitteri: “The Washington Square church had always been a beacon of freedom, justice and love. And so we went there to help feed people. And we had a homeless feeding program. The homeless still needed to be fed. That didn’t change.”
Jennifer Rodia: “What I remember most is probably just mashing pounds and pounds of potatoes and the faces of the firefighters coming off of Ground Zero, still covered in that white ash but now sharing a meal with their colleagues and just taking a moment. And you could see in those moments the importance of the kindness of strangers, that it makes a difference when we give of ourselves.”
The Rev. Stephen Bauman: “There is an opportunity here to reclaim the message of grace and love out of the devastation so that together we can take hands one with the other to rebuild for the future, for the common good for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”
September 11 remains a time to remember when people came together to pray for the good of all.
Martha Chapman: “With all of this shielding ripped away, people’s kind of naked need for care and community was exposed, and a place that we could find it was inside the doors of the church.”
This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
This video was first posted on August 31, 2016. This edited version was published on August 23, 2021.