Dr. Benjamín Galarce Sánchez, national district superintendent of Puerto Rico, gives an update of the status of Wesleyan churches in Puerto Rico that suffered damage from Hurricane Maria.
- Aguas Buenas: The river overflowed its banks and flooded the sanctuary, which affected the furniture, pews, altar, classroom furniture, etc.
- Bayamón: Suffered some minor damage due to winds and rain.
- Caguas: Lost part of the roof and upper room area.
- Caparra: No damage reported.
- Carolina: No damage reported.
- Dorado: The churches of Pueblo, Mameyal and Marismillas–all three churches were severely damaged. The most affected were Marismillas and Mameyal, both of which lost the entire roof on the second floor. Losses to Sunday school classrooms and furniture were also reported.
- Guaynabo: Pastor Irving Figueroa has already given report of the damage (church located adjacent to the Wesleyan Academy).
- Humacao: No damage reported.
- Levittown: Due to the rains, the altar/pulpit area floor was damaged since it was wood; the projection screens were ruined and the carpet was damaged. (Also, a number of church families lost their homes due to flooding.)
- Ponce: Suffered minor damage.
- Santurce: Suffered minor damage, which has been fixed already by the church.
- Vega Alta: The sanctuary roof leaked or was damaged, which led to damage in the offices, classrooms and kitchen. The parsonage also was damaged–part of its roof was lost along with the loss of furniture and personal items.
Other reported damage:
- Wesleyan Academy was severely affected by the hurricane. One area of great destruction included the eight classrooms on the third floor, which are part of the high school. (View the CNN video clip that includes Wesleyan Academy.)
- District office and Wesleyan Fellowship Hall: The acoustic roof was damaged by the winds and rain.
- Wesleyan Theological College: Due to the winds, the building under construction lost its roof.
There are a number of families in the churches who have lost everything. The communities most affected were: Aguas Buenas, Dorado (the three churches), Humacao, Levittown (where Dr. Sánchez pastors) and Vega Alta. According to the reports received from the pastors, 57 families in all have been affected.
Items of basic, immediate need include: canned and non-perishable food, medicines and analgesics, bedding (twin, full, queen), towels, mattresses and cots, clothing (for babies, children, youth and adults) and tarps to cover roofs.
Due to the disaster, the majority of our churches do not have enough funds in reserve to maintain support for their pastors and maintain their installations. The condition or ability to help the families and church members is limited due to their own financial need and support for their local church. This will also affect the district finances in the foreseeable future.
Wesleyans in Puerto Rico are so grateful for the prayers, financial gifts and volunteer efforts of those who are able to help those affected by such devastation.