St. Marks Opened Their Doors to Disaster Victims

From the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

On May 12th, Tuesday night, upon hearing about the train derailment so close to the church, members and clergy from St. Mark’s Church, Frankford, opened the church and called police dispatch at 10:15pm to register themselves as a comfort station.

Deacon Phil Geliebter, Missioner Blair Jordan, Property Chair Nick Horsfall and Parish Secretary Ivy Horsfall responded quickly, opening the doors to the church and providing a safe haven for the passengers who had been seen in Emergency Rooms and had no central location to go to once discharged.

St. Mark's Church - Photo by St. Mark's

St. Mark’s Church – Photo by St. Mark’s

Cases of bottled water were taken to the crash site and distributed, and more water and fresh, hot coffee was available at the church, along with phones to make calls, places to charge cell phones, ice packs for bumps and bruises, and a lot of love and caring. One gentleman, adamant about finding a way to get to NYC “very soon” was given a printout of the Greyhound bus schedule. Instead of putting him through the ordeal of another train ride, Nick Horsfall drove the gentleman downtown to the bus station.

Another gentleman, frantic to get home to Trenton, NJ, was driven there by a volunteer from Calvary Chapel on the King’s Highway.
The church also served as a comfort station and a planning center for members of the Philadelphia Police Department and officials from Amtrak.

Working with the Chaplains at the 15th District of the Philadelphia police department, they ensured that a chaplain was available at Aria Hospital in Frankford, St. Marks Church and at the accident scene.

In order to provide a safe haven, they did not allow media coverage, photographs or interviews on site and stayed open until the last passengers were picked up by a shuttle bus provided by Amtrak; our doors closed at 3:15 am.