Bethel Gospel Assembly Church lost two members of their congregation in Wednesday's explosion in East Harlem, and Carmen Tanco and Griselde Camacho were remembered in services Sunday. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Sunday was a day of healing across East Harlem. The mayor visited two churches where he offered words of comfort to the victims’ families, housing support for the displaced and also hope for the future.
"Some people are not blessed in a moment of crisis to have family and friends nearby, but after, there's the family and friends, there's the houses of worship, and after the houses of worship, there's your city government standing up for you, and after that, there's wonderful organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, and all have come together to say to all that have suffered, we will not let you fall," de Blasio said.
The mayor's wife, Chirlane McCray, announced that the organization she leads, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, has collected $250,000 to help the victims. She's hopeful that there will be more coming.
"I have to say that if there's one thing New Yorkers can count on when there's a crisis, it's other New Yorkers," McCray said.
For many people, going to church was a first chance to be with the friends and neighbors who lost so much in Wednesday's explosion. At Bethel Gospel Assembly, they mourned the loss of two congregants, Griselde Camacho and Carmen Tanco.
"Just loving, caring. Always with a smile, always wanting to help, always gracious in their attitude and emotions," said one person. "Just wonderful, precious women."
"I don't think any tragedy has a pat answer for how you get through it," said another. "It's just one day at a time, one moment at a time."
It was much the same scene at the Church of God on 116th Street. The explosion destroyed the Spanish Christian Church, and many of the congregants there went to the Church of God, where they were welcomed with open arms.
"It's good to support the people in the neighborhood and give them as much love and support as they needed during this difficult time," said one person.
While work continues at the site, at least the community had a chance Sunday to help one another cope with it all.