By Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Members of a South Jersey congregation could have plenty of reasons not to be thankful.
Heavy rains badly damaged their beloved church months ago.
But this Thanksgiving, they are rebuilding with gratitude.
“It came together far beyond anything I can imagine,” says Pastor Ed Muska.
Just weeks ago, the problems made the situation appear bleak for the Mt. Union Calvary Church in Runnemede. At 103 years old, the church is older than the town itself.
In July, that’s what happened. Rain waters washed away one side of the church foundation, collapsing a supporting wall and filling a newly refinished basement meeting room with feet of mud.
With mounting bills and limited funds, the congregation began meeting elsewhere.
“The dry wall had to come down, the ceiling had to come down, the floor had to come up,” Muska explains.
Just a few weeks ago, an army of volunteers from the fire department and local VFW got started.
“Everybody who has been in these doors has been working. Forty to fifty people I would never have met if it hadn’t been for this. We have a better connection with our community,” Pastor Muska says.
The volunteers cleaned the basement and repaired the walls. A new furnace was donated, along with gas and electrical services – work which otherwise would have cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“If this building comes down, that new wall will be the last to go because it’s stronger than it ever has been, and I think that about our church, too.”