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Healing all kinds of brokenness, even a broken pipe!

The church is no stranger to the brokenness of this world, but Lord help us when something at the church breaks!

In January, Oklahoma saw some unusually cold weather and unfortunately, some poorly insulated pipes at St. James, Jenks froze.  As the weather warmed and the pipes thawed, one of them burst behind the wall in a lower traffic area of the church offices.  Thankfully, church staff were present when this happened and a power strip on the floor alerted them to the water leak.  It took about an hour before a water key could be located and the still frozen valve could be shut off.  In the meantime, it was all hands on deck trying to move the flood of water out of the building.  We used anything we could find, including brooms and snow shovels! Due to the secretary’s quick thinking, office equipment, including the copier, were moved before they were damaged. Nevertheless, the offices and a bathroom, several storage spaces, the kitchen pantry, and the Christian Education Hall were all soaked.

If this was an isolated incident, it is the sort of emergency the church could easily handle with the help of insurance.  However, the year prior there had been a slow leak in a different part of the church that had resulted in a black mold infestation.  Two claims due to leaks in such short succession would have made the church’s insurance premiums skyrocket, adding an extra burden for future budgets for years to come.

Thankfully, due to some posts our pastor made on social media asking for people to come help with the clean up, our General Presbyter was made aware of the leak.  He shared about the grant available through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and we received enough from the PDA grant to cover the remediation company’s bill.  There were still some repairs we had to cover, like the emergency plumbing call and replacing some bathroom tiles as well as replacing drywall and new paint in the affected office, but our property committee was able to do a lot themselves to keep the costs affordable. 

It might seem like a small thing, and compared to some of the storm damage we have seen other churches in our presbytery handle, it is.  Nevertheless, with the help of the PDA grant we did not have to ping our insurance, which made the whole situation more manageable.  We are grateful to all the people who helped make a bad day at the church not quite so bad - from the church staff to all those who responded to social media posts asking for help, including our General Presbyter.  It is a blessing to be a part of the connectional church that wants to be present for each other during a time of need, to help bring healing to all kinds of brokenness - even a broken pipe!

Rev. Rebecca Weston 

St. James Presbyterian Church

11970 S Elm Street, Jenks, OK 74037

Photo captions: During the freezing weather this past January, water pipes burst and flooded portions of St. James Presbyterian Church (Jenks, OK, Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery). Church staff, members, and eventually professionals were called to salvage and restore the building. Funds from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance supported the financial costs of these unexpected expenses. 

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