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It Takes A Village To ‘Be Cool’


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The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit is pleased to announce it has successfully met its fundraising goal to air condition the church’s sanctuary and work is currently underway, thanks to donations from parishioners, friends of Holy Spirit, Verona businesses, and community leaders. The air conditioning, which is being installed by Harmony Heating Corp. of Rockaway, should be complete by mid-August.

Although the congregation had longed for a cooler place to worship for years, Holy Spirit leaders officially launched the “Be Cool” fundraising campaign immediately after the church hosted ex-Fire Chief Larry Burdett’s funeral on June 29, 2019. “With temperatures in the 90s, a church overflowing with Larry’s friends, and first responders in full uniform, it was uncomfortably hot,” recalls the Reverend Jerry Racioppi. In 2019, the church raised $7,780 towards its ultimately goal of $36,000.

When the pandemic hit, Holy Spirit suspended in-person worship and began hosting weekly worship online. The need for air conditioning took a back seat to more pressing needs, including purchasing equipment to livestream worship and ensuring the food pantry Holy Spirit runs was well-stocked to accommodate the increasing number of people who needed support. In 2021, however, the campaign kicked back into full gear raising the remaining funds needed for the installation.

Of the donors, about 65% are affiliated with the congregation, 27% are from the community at large, and 8% are community leaders or businesses. A recent concert held at the church netted about $400. Fittingly, approximately $8,400 was donated in memory of Larry Burdett. In total, the church raised $36,978 through its “Be Cool” campaign.

“We couldn’t have done it without the community’s support,” says Racioppi. “Holy Spirit is a congregation that welcomes everyone. We want them to be comfortable, regardless of the weather outside.”

The Church of the Holy Spirit, located at 36 Gould Street, is currently offering Sunday services online and in-person, although if COVID-19 rates continue to increase in Essex County, in-person worship may once again be limited. During the summer, Thursday evening prayer worship is held outside at 7 p.m., unless less there is inclement weather, when it will be held online. Check the website, www.holyspiritverona.org, for links to livestream worship or for up-to-date information on the status of in-person worship. Sunday School will resume in the fall; if interested, please contact Fr. Jerry at 973-239-2850.

Musicians Ema Mitrović, (Holy Spirit’s cantor), Tim Horner, Bill Moring, and Allan Bezama performed a jazz concert recently to raise funds for the air conditioning.

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