Church Pieces Together Healing for San Bruno

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Bethany Presbyterian member Roberta Henry with the mural.

Three years after a massive explosion along a PG&E gas pipeline underneath a San Bruno neighborhood, a local church is helping the community heal using shattered bits of ceramics and glass from the blast itself in a poignant mosaic.

Three of the eight people killed on Sept. 9, 2010, were members of the Bullis family and Bethany Presbyterian Church—Lavonne, 82, her son Greg, 50, and his son William, 17.

All that was left of the Bullis home were pieces of cups, saucers, and Christmas decorations from Lavonne Bullis’ collections. Lavonne’s daughter, Jeannie Bullis Young, found shards of the orchid pattern china used when the family gathered for Easter and summer birthdays, a small angel holding a harp, and a sweet nativity scene that once decorated the home at Christmas, along with other reminders of happier times.

Young and other stunned family members scooped up the remnants out of the ashes of the family home while escorted by emergency personnel and Red Cross workers days after the tragedy. They tucked away the fragments, not sure what they would do with them. [Read more…]

A Look Back: One Year Anniversary of San Bruno Blast

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In honor of the one year anniversary of the PG&E gas pipe explosion in San Bruno, I’m reposting this story I did about a faith community deeply impacted by the blast that turned around to help the community. Earlier today I read on the Fred Rogers Company website a quote from Mr. Rogers about how his mother helped him deal with disturbing world news as a child.A prayer shawl adorns the San Bruno church impacted by the PG&E gas explosion.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

This story, like so many other stories about good neighbors, is about the helpers.