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Churches respond to flooded communities

by Michael Ford last modified 11 May, 2018 02:54 PM

Churches in flood-hit areas across the country are working closely to help those affected offering shelter, advice and support.

Churches respond to flooded communities

All Saints' Church helps out in Worcester: photo by Mark Prince

The Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, visited a Government Minister to discuss the impact of flooding. He said: “This is a time when local communities need to pull together and really think about what can be done to help one another.”
Listen to the interview on Soundcloud 

The Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard, whose diocese is severely affected by the floods, said that with a church “on every corner”, halls and buildings were being made available, to support those in need.
Listen to the interview on Soundcloud

The Bishop of Taunton, Peter Maurice, commended a prayer for all those affected by the flooding, taken from the Book of Common Prayer 1662 and updated in Common Worship (adapted):
"We commend to your fatherly goodness all who are in any way afflicted or distressed, in mind, body or situation; we especially remember those enduring the flooding and its aftermath. Comfort and relieve them in their need, give them patience in their sufferings and hardships, and please bring good out of all their afflictions.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen."

The Church Urban Fund have opened an emergency flood fund to support those affected across the country. Click here to make a donation

The Revd Jeff Wattley, vicar of St John the Baptist Egham and a trained sailor, has been visiting parishioners by boat. The student worker at the church has connections at Royal Holloway and has organised the Royal Holloway American Football team to fill sandbags. The church has sent out letters to all villagers offering help and prayer and their kitchen, situated on the high street is open offering food, drinks and snacks.

The parish of Busbridge and Hambledon has come to the aid of a family of six with a newborn baby, forced to evacuate their flooded home in Chertsey, offering refuge in a house standing empty in the parish south of Guildford. Vicar Simon Taylor said: “The church is also hosting a Rescue Response Team from Norfolk, brought into Silver Command area to support flood-relief work. The church hall has been given to the team of ten as accommodation and church members are offering bedding and food boxes for them.”

St Peter's Church, Chertsey, is coordinating with other community agencies to provide practical assistance to flood victims, refreshments and rest for volunteers and workers involved in the emergency operation. The church is also acting as a clearing house for offers of accommodation. In partnership with a group of residents - mainly via Facebook - they have organised free sand from local companies. Over 80 volunteers of all ages have been filling 30 tonnes of sand in sandbags in St Peter's car park.

Members of All Saints' Church in Worcester City Centre (pictured) have been taking hot drinks and cakes to the county council and Environment Agency staff dealing with the bridge and road closures across the city. Clergy emergency response teams in the Worcester, Upton and Bewdley areas are on standby to provide practical help, such as filling sandbags, as well as pastoral help when required.

The Revd Dave Bull, Team Rector of Marlow, in Oxford Diocese, said: “Someone from our congregation who has lived here for 50 years says the river has never been so high. We're flooded all along the river on both sides. The fire department has now set up an emergency response unit bringing in resources from around the country.” He said in his church the graves were waterlogged and the crypt had flooded for the first time in the church's 170 year history. The seven churches in Marlow got together to hold an emergency ecumenical meeting. He added that people were “loving their neighbours” and supporting each other with “extraordinary community spirit.”

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