June 21 Update
In a follow-up report about the multiple alarm fire that destroyed the main building at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Central Islip, investigators conclude that an electrical fire started the blaze.
The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island, said, “the building sustained catastrophic damage from fire, heat, and water.” But, he added, “the church members are the church. Buildings can be replaced.”
Fr. Juan Reyes, priest-in-charge, and warden Sandra Townsend helped direct the removal of any objects that were salvageable. Fr. Juan will also make plans with parish leadership and the bishop’s office about where to hold worship services temporarily. For the immediate future, the congregation will worship on Sundays in the parish hall, which was not affected by the fire.
Neighboring Episcopal parishes and those from other denominations have generously offered space for worship and other assistance.
Bishop Provenzano said, “We are profoundly grateful for the prayers and offers of support from the neighboring community and across the diocese. We are grateful to the Central Islip Fire Department for its quick response. To lose a historic church building is always painful to witness. In time, with God’s help, we will rebuild the worship space we lost. Please continue to pray for all those affected.”
In the early morning hours of Sunday, a multiple alarm fire broke out in the interior of Church of the Messiah, in Central Islip. The building sustained catastrophic damage from fire, heat, and water. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and will take fire investigators several days to assess.
The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island, arrived to the scene early this morning with Stuart Newby, Diocesan Director of Facilities, who immediately contacted the Church Insurance Company and made arrangements for the church building to be secured. Bishop Provenzano gathered with the congregation on the lawn for prayer, reminding them that they are the church, the building can be replaced. He then outlined what next steps will be taken to support them through this tragedy.
Please keep the parishioners of Church of the Messiah in your prayers as they mourn the loss of their 150 year old church building. Further updates will be made available as we move forward in this process.
We are grateful to the Central Islip Fire Department for their quick response and actions attempting to save the church building.