Church left reeling after Halloween storm devastates building

Posted at 6:22 PM, Nov 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-02 20:17:33-04

SOUTH JAMAICA, Queens — Hope NYC has been around for the people in southeast Queens for over 10-years.

According to parishioners, it gives them a place to pray, a place to help put together an annual Christmas parade, and it gives them hope.

But after Thursday’s storm damaged the building, they now have no place to go.

“Hope NYC is not just church, it’s home,” said pastor Sharon Ramkhelawan.

“29 nationalities of people attend here, and for the hundreds of us who come here most from different countries, we found home here. Hope is what brings us all together.”

In addition to prayer services twice a week, every year her congregation does a toy-drive and helps put together a Christmas parade that takes places along Rockaway Boulevard in early December.

“We have a massive parade — huge floats, hundreds of thousands of lights come and people from our church are the ones who build it by hand,” she said Saturday.

But Thursday night, strong winds knocked the roof off their block-long building, leaving behind structural and water damage.

“The building was shaking. We were seeing bricks falling.”

NYC’s department of buildings quickly issued a vacate order for the house of worship.

“Instantly, I thought 'what are we gonna do about church, where are the people gonna go, where are we gonna build for the parade.'"

Since, they have been looking for a temporary place.

According to Sharo, while everyone’s thankful no-one was hurt, they still need a place to worship and a place they can build some floats.

“It’s not just my place of worship, feels like I can’t go home,” she said.

For more information on how you could help parishioners at this church, go to or email: