By Leon Suseran
A South Ozone Park church finally re-opened its doors to its members on Sunday, November 14, 2021 after being ravaged by a fire caused by lightning. On July 21,2020, a fire tore through Spirit & Truth Christian Church after the steeple was struck by lightning during a tropical storm that ravaged the area. Luckily the FDNY put the fire out in about 50 minutes, the result of concerted effort of approximately 50 firefighters. Nobody was in the church building at the time but the church was heavily affected. The building had to be vacated and services and meetings there ceased for over one year—until November 14.
Church members, special invitees, pastors from other churches and well- wishers turned up in their large numbers to turn a new leaf of the church building, the church was fully reopened after holding virtual services and meeting elsewhere over the past 18 months.
Speaking with Pastor Daniel Marimuthu, he said 2020 has been a testing and heartbreaking year for the Spirit and Truth Church family. “Due to an unexpected lightning storm, our church steeple was struck by lightning which started a fire that ravaged the front portion of our church building. Today we celebrate, rejoice and give Almighty God the praise and glory for seeing us through this testing time during an unprecedented pandemic.”
“I thank God for the outpouring of support we have received from our friends, family, congregation members and neighborhood community of South Ozone Park, NY who stood with us throughout our time of rebuilding. Their words of encouragement and monetary donations were greatly appreciated. It is my prayer that God returns an unmeasurable amount of favor their way and may they never lack for anything.”
“Lastly, I must thank God for leading us to the right people who helped us to rebuild our church building. While the building looks beautiful and we are able to resume regularly scheduled services, there are still projects yet to be completed. We are trusting and believing God to eventually raise enough funds to purchase the home behind our church building to expand our church and allocate a designated parking facility for our congregation members and visitors.
If there is anyone who would like to donate towards this project or support our church financially please visit our website www.stccny.com and click on the word GIVE.
John Marimuthu, son of Pastor Daniel Marimuthu spoke to the West Indian during the reopening service. ‘”It’s been a long journey…we are really appreciative of all the support we have received from everyone here in NYC.”
Joel Marimuthu, his brother, also spoke said it was a momentous day to start the journey of reopening the church to the community. “We want to welcome everyone to come and join us at Spirit & Truth..and also to join us online and follow us on our Social Media and our website.”
“We have to give God thanks and praise for Gateway Christian Center out in Valley Stream—Pastor Sonny Phillips, the Head Pastor—and he was able to open his doors for us to hold regular services there every Sunday.”
John thanked those who donated in the GoFundMe that was set up after the fire ravaged the building. “To strangers, friends, families, thank you, thank you…because we were able to recoup all of the physical equipment that we have lost which was actually located in our balcony where the lightning bolt hit the steeple and burned the entire attic of our church…so all of our sound equipment at that point was completely damaged so we had to recoup all of that which was not covered under insurance.”
During the service, there were songs of praise, performances, and little speeches from various pastors in the area and NYC.