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9/12/2001, The Healing Begins--St. Paul's Chapel, Ground Zero

Fires burn behind St. Paul's Chapel where the World Trade Center stood.

James Wheeldon

The priest in charge describes the real miracle of “the little chapel that stood”.

This article appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of Spirituality & Health. The morning of September 12, I got up early to walk the mile and a half from our apartment in Greenwich Village to St. Paul’s Chapel, where I serve as priest in charge. I walked down Broadway, gagging on the smoke, all the while assuming that the historic church where George Washington once worshiped had been destroyed. Passing humvees, fire trucks, and demolished cars, I had to negotiate several checkpoints to get anywhere near my destination. At City Hall, I was close enough to survey the area around St. Paul’s, and in that instant, time stood still: The spire of St. Paul’s Chapel was intact. Trudging through the soot and debris that covered the chapel, both inside and out, I marveled at St. Paul’s unscathed appearance. People would soon be talking about the “miracle of St. Paul’s.” We are not holier than anyone who died across the street, but we were blessed. I can’t begin to describe the depth of gratitude I felt walking through the intact church or the sense of purpose I felt looking out at the carnage from the chapel’s …

In 2002, the Rev. Lyndon Harris was a fellow of the Episcopal Church Foundation.

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