In an unusual move, LDS Church officials in New York City canceled regular Sunday worship services on Nov. 11 so members and missionaries could join the relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Wearing yellow jackets emblazoned with the words, Mormon Helping Hands, hundreds of eager Latter-day Saints entered devastated Rockaway, Queens, neighborhoods and got to work dragging muck and debris from flood-damaged homes.
They were joined by volunteers from Muslim relief services and local United Methodist churches, whose denominational Relief Committee (with an office in Utah) had already sent several pallets of supplies to the disaster area.
As the volunteers worked, Mormon videographer Joshua Brown captured many of the interfaith collaborations and grateful neighbors in an eight-minute video, which has now gone viral.
Brown chose to shoot on Sunday instead of Saturday, when another 800 Mormons from New England arrived to pitch in, because, he said, he thought the Sabbath service was a great example of "pure religion."
"I thought it was a better visual and interview to ask people how it felt to be serving," he told bycommonconsent, "instead of sitting in church."
Peggy Fletcher Stack
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