Fire at Good Shepherd, Berkeley: update

Posted on October 24, 2012

By now many of you have probably read about the tragic fire at Good Shepherd, Berkeley, on Saturday night, October 20. The interior of the 144-year-old building was destroyed, but the bell tower remains. The first started in the sacristy, but the cause has yet to be determined. No one was injured, and the fire was noted first by the diocesan interns.

What you may not have read about yet is how the people of Good Shepherd, Berkeley, continue to be in ministry and how the Diocese of California supported them the day after the fire during their first worship service in the parish hall. Although the worship space has been destroyed, the church is not dependent on buildings to gather as Christ’s Body and remember and give thanks for God’s works of redemption.

Sunday morning the community gathered at 11 a.m. as they do every week. This week Bishop Marc Andrus and his wife Sheila, along with other diocesan senior staff, joined them. Church Insurance has been present and extremely helpful from the very beginning, including worshipping with the congregation on Sunday. Faculty from Church Divinity School of the Pacific and clergy and spouses from other congregations worshipped with Good Shepherd to show their support during this trying time.

Beyond ways that the diocese offered emotional spiritual support through presence, congregations showed their love in tangible ways, as well. Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, prepared a basket of vestments, Eucharistic vessels, bread, wine, and bulletins with the Eucharistic rite for the congregation to use in transition. Holy Trinity/La Santissima Trinidad, Richmond’s choir arrived at the offertory and offered an anthem based on a spiritual. 

In the midst of the troubles God was praised. The Rev. Este Cantor, vicar, said on the parish website that the usual ministries of the church will continue. Monetary donations are being accepted online at Good Shepherd’s donation page. Those wishing to donate goods should first contact the vicar to see if they are needed.