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Youth from Massachusetts paint Mount Hope church

Bronx Times

It’s the good Samaritans to the rescue.

Much of the sanctuary of the St. Edmunds Episcopal Church in the west Bronx was repainted recently with the help of youth mission volunteers from a Massachusetts church.

The group of 45 do-gooding teenage volunteers from Pilgrim Congregational Church in Southborough, MA. was in town for four days and also performed volunteer work at St. Peter’s Church at 2500 Westchester Avenue and Transfiguration Lutheran Church at 763 Prospect Avenue, organizers said.

During a visit to St. Edmunds at 1905 Morris Avenue on Wednesday, August 1, the teenagers painted the first tier of the pitched cathedral roof in the 101-year-old Mt. Hope church, after they had started by cleaning the soot from candles that were on the walls, said chaperone Peter Turner.

“The dirt and soot on the walls kept us washing them for two days,” said Turner. “The painting itself has gone faster than we originally thought.”

The church’s sanctuary had not been painted in about 30 years, said St. Edmunds warden Phyllis Lewis, in charge of administration and day-to-day operations in the absence of a full-time pastor.

The church had gotten an estimate of about $36,000 for painting the entire sanctuary, said Lewis, who added that raising the money would be difficult because many of the parishioners are now older and there are only a few young families with children in the parish.

St. Edmunds also has a food pantry on Tuesdays and Thursdays with donated and collected food, she said.

“The painting of the church was one of our top priorities in terms of things we wanted to get done,” said Lewis, a parishioner for five decades. “Were weren’t sure how we were going to have the painting done after the $36,000 estimate, but just look at the work the young people are doing!”

The volunteers were able to leave equipment so churchgoers can continue painting the entire church building and property, said Turner. In this project, only the upper reaches of the sanctuary were not reached.

The young people from Pilgrim Church raised all the money to make the trip this year through fund raisers such as dances, as they have done in previous years, said Turner.

Meghan Hornblower, 17, one the volunteers on the St. Edmunds youth mission, said she was inspired by her older brother to participate in the youth missions.

She has worked throughout the year in a youth program near where she lives, she said, and it has helped foster her love of working with children.

The trip has allowed her to get beyond “the bubble” of her everyday surroundings, Hornblower said, adding that she has gone on previous missions.

“This is the one week I look forward to each year,” she said.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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