Responding to the February floods
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A number of Baptist churches opened as emergency centres; others have been flooded; prayer points offered
A Baptist church was among the buildings hit by recent flooding in Yorkshire.
The cellar, chapel and community rooms of Hope Chapel, the home of Hope Baptist Church in Hebden Bridge, were flooded in early February during Storm Ciara.
Church members had to remove carpets from the chapel, organise water to be pumped out of the cellar and mop floors. They were able to open the building a week later for a live music performance that raised more than £600 for the local flood relief fund. The road in front of the building had been submerged in seven feet of water.
Members of the church are now meeting in the temporary home they decamped to the last time the building suffered extensive flood damage in 2015 – the White Lion pub. ‘It’s where we go when we’re flooded!’ said Gerard Liston, writing in the church’s Facebook group. The restoration work is expected to last several weeks.
Elsewhere Baptists have been supporting community relief efforts. The West Midlands has been hit hard by the flooding. The flood defences in Upton-on-Severn have thankfully held up – if breached the building and manse of Upton Baptist Church would be affected – but many homes have been affected.
The church’s minister Amy Wearing has been offering support to flood hit families. Amy and her two children were highlighted in a news report after offering home-made biscuits to people dealing with the flood defences and others.
‘We know people that have lost a significant amount of property and valuables and possessions,’ Amy told the BBC (21 February).
‘On Tuesday we were stuck in Upton upon Severn and our daughter loves baking so we got some ingredients. She said 'I want to cook some biscuits and give them to people helping'.
‘We just headed into town and went to find people who were out and about helping, and then took some as well to people who were keeping us safe.
‘We are fine but people that we know haven't been.’
Putson Baptist Church (in a suburb of Hereford) opened its doors to offer sanctuary to anyone needing support or a place to go.
Coedpenmaen Community Church, near Pontypridd in South Wales was also used by the local council as an emergency centre. Iford Baptist Church in Bournemouth served as an evacuation centre following Storm Dennis.
‘We were just glad we could help and give them warmth and a cup of tea,’ minister Jonny Hodges told the Bournemouth Echo.
As the country prepares for another weekend storm, we offer the following prayer points:
Pray for all those who have been affected by the recent flood waters in so many parts of the UK.
Pray for those who are feeling the weight of worry and fear as their homes and businesses have been affected and continue to be so.
Pray for the most vulnerable in our communities who have been impacted by the rising flood waters. Pray for those who are older, those who are unwell, those who have not been able to insure their properties and for those for whom the clean-up feels a task too overwhelming.
Pray for all who are in a position to support the flooded communities. For the emergency services, for those working with the Environment Agency, local councils and the insurance company assessors. Give them strength, insight and compassion in all that they do.
Pray for church communities which have been affected. Pray that in the challenges that are faced they are able to walk the stormy path with the wider community, showing something of God’s hope and love even in the aftermath of the torrent.
Pray that as a family of churches we will be listening to the needs of our neighbours across the country. Let’s continue to pray in the months ahead as the clean up continues even when the waters have subsided. Pray that fears will be relieved and a flooded house will feel like home once again.