South-Western Synod calls for prayers of support and justice amidst severe flooding
Website to help people afftected by the flooding: Click Here
The Revd Ruth Whitehead, Moderator of the South Western Synod, urges people to join in prayers of solidarity with those whose lives and livelihoods have been damaged and disrupted by the on-going floods and storms in the south-west of England. Severe flooding and rough seas have wreaked havoc over the south-west of England, disrupting businesses, severing road and rail links and leaving families homeless.
Since before Christmas, the Somerset levels have been heavily flooded, leaving roads shut and farms under water. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the river levels have risen another metre and some villages have had to be evacuated. One of our churches, Westfield United Reformed Church, in Bridgwater, is being used as a refuge.
The Revd Chris Baillie, Westfield URC, said: “What strikes me at present is the need for prayer for people coping with a sense of disorientation. As one lady said to me – your home is where you go to cope when life is difficult, so being removed from it is hard.”Meanwhile, the raging seas have washed away part of the sea wall at Dawlish, severing the rail line and effectively cutting off Devon and Cornwall for rail travellers, and many coastal areas of Devon and Cornwall have experienced damage and flooding. The Met Office has warned people to prepare for more flooding over the coming weekend, as heavy and persistent rain, accompanied by gales, is expected to sweep across the south-west of England.
In the midst of this sense of disruption and disaster, I was reminded of the words of Paul to the church at Corinth:
“We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 - CEV)
This sense of the indomitable nature of the human spirit suits the people of the South West well, and we have seen many examples of neighbours helping one another, rescue agencies taking risks for the sake of others, and farmers stoically waiting for the floods to recede.
But the most important thing for us to remember is “God is with us” and we need to hear this now more than ever. The brutality of natural forces is not a sign that God has abandoned us, or is punishing us, but perhaps it serves as a reminder that we are not as much in control of our “environment” as we sometimes think we are.
I ask you then to please pray with the people of the South Western synod for those whose lives and livelihoods have been disrupted. Pray too that we find ways to help and support one another, and find the will and the finding to tackle coast and land management with justice and wisdom. Finally, pray that people of goodwill might address the deep underlying issues of climate change, recognizing our own role as stewards of God’s creation.
The Breton Fisherman’s prayer seems very apt:
“Dear God, be good to me, the sea is so wide, and my boat is so small”
Moderator South Western Synod
The United Reformed Church
The Manse, Norton Fitzwarren,
Email: moderator a_t urcsouthwest d_o_t org d_o_t uk
, Climate Change
, South West
, South-Western Synod