NEW YORK — The Rev. Richard G. O’Dell, who led the Boston church in a Sunday vigil and prayed over its broken-down walls and broken-out furniture, was back Monday, and he had a message for those who don’t want to be moved by a hurricane.
“This church was just devastated, and we were just devastated.
And then the storm came and destroyed it again,” O’Deell said at a news conference Monday morning.
“So I think it’s really important to be compassionate and not be afraid of people and not to let fear get in the way of being able to be healed.”
The church, which was in a church-owned building for more than 50 years, reopened Tuesday after it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene, which knocked down power lines and destroyed buildings in the historic town.
The church’s doors reopened just after 10 a.m. after an hourlong restoration effort.
It has no visible damage.
“They’re a beautiful church, and they’re a symbol of hope,” said O’Hara of the people who gathered at the church during the storm.
“And the fact that they’ve been rebuilt so quickly, and I can say I’m really proud of them, it shows you how much they have been able to rebuild.
I think they’ll be a great resource for us.”
O’Dells church has been in the area since the early 1900s, and is known for its large church.
Its doors reopened Monday.
It was originally owned by a group of local church leaders.
It also serves a local community.
Church leaders said the church has about 3,000 members and is looking forward to the rebuilding of the church.
O’Deells wife, Nancy, said she was happy to see the church reopened.
She said the restoration process is very, very thorough, and it will take time, but she hopes it will be a healing process for the community.
“The church was so sad to be lost and it was like we couldn’t find anybody, but now we have this wonderful community that we’re trying to build, and that’s the most wonderful part about it,” she said.
The O’Dsons have been living in a former church, but have never felt separated from the surrounding area, Nancy said.
She added that she was very relieved to see her husband back at the service.
“It’s such a blessing to have a home again,” she told reporters.
“I feel so happy for the people that are still in the church,” O’dell said.