Tragedy in Our Midst: R.M. Palmer Candy Company Disaster
Here in our Synod, on Friday, March 24, 2023, the R.M. Palmer Candy Company in West Reading, PA suffered a catastrophic explosion in one of their manufacturing buildings. This disaster killed 7 people, injured at least dozen more individuals, and changed the literal landscape of the borough of West Reading.
God is present with those who watch, weep, and wonder; those who supply material and spiritual support; and, those who walk alongside the R.M. Palmer community.
How are we helping?
- Synod ministers and other leaders have been on the ground since the explosion.
- There will be a prayer vigil in West Reading at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 31st. Information is here: West Reading vigil. I plan to be there myself.
- The Berks County Community Foundation set up a community fund in conversation with the United Way. Information and a donation link is here: West Reading Fund. The offering from next week’s Chrism Service will go towards this fund.
Pastor Bruce Osterhout of Bethany Lutheran Church, West Reading shared key points with many of us yesterday afternoon, from his perspective; his writing it follows my post, see below.
Please pray with me:
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this week and night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen. (ELW Evening Prayer)
O God, our very present help in trouble, bring hope and courage to all who are affected by this explosion as they wait in the ‘now what?’ Bring assurance that you will be with them in whatever lies ahead. We pray for first responders, debris clearers, funeral directors, water bearers, medical and social work personnel, and Palmer co-workers, for you are our refuge and strength. Support families in their grief. You are God, and we need you! We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. (adapted from ELW Pastoral care, page 174)
We are Stronger Together in Christ,
Bishop Christopher deForest