After close to 50 years of marriage, Mary and Jim Murphy never thought they’d be starting a new life together. But that’s how it felt on Saturday, Oct. 24th when their recently rebuilt house was blessed in an event held by A Future With Hope and the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group.
“Our first house blessing was 46 years ago,” said Mary Murphy, “and now we have another one to start our new life.”
Bishop John Schol was on hand to lead the house blessing walking room to room with the couple. The occasion marked a special moment for the Bishop as he and the Greater New Jersey Cabinet and Connectional Ministries Team spent a week in mission working on the couple’s Little Egg Harbor home this summer with A Future With Hope.
“Mary and Jim are a wonderful couple.” Schol said, “Their story of faith and recovery after being out of their home for three years is an inspiration to us all.”
The Murphys had more than three feet of water flood their home during the storm. They moved to a small apartment in Barnegat while they dealt with the process of rebuilding. Their case manager from Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group recommended they work with A Future With Hope to rebuild, but they were nervous about working with a volunteer organization.
“Last year, I saw the governor’s wife, Mary Pat Christie, on TV endorsing A Future With Hope and I knew we would be in good hands,” Mary Murphy said.
“Mary shared with me that meeting a new group of volunteers each week was one of the greatest blessings,” said GNJ Director of Connectional Ministries Hector Burgos, who worked on the house this summer. “She did not expect the love and hope they gave her. She didn’t understand that we were the ones blessed.”
Sue Marticek, chair of Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group also spoke at the celebration.
“This is what we have been working so hard for,” she said. “Homeowners have complicated problems. Our partnership with A Future With Hope is what makes us able to solve these problems. Without A Future With Hope working with us to find the solution we wouldn’t be able to bring you home.”
After blessing the house, Schol presented the Murphys with a gift from the Greater New Jersey Cabinet and Connectional Ministries team which had collected $1,000 so that the Murphys could buy furniture for their new home.
It’s been three years since Superstorm Sandy drove people like the Murphys out of their home, but Schol expressed that through God’s love, there is hope.
“It has been a challenging recovery,” he said, “but United Methodists have been and will continue to be on the ground each step of the way.”