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Lutherans supporting flood victims

June 23, 2013 3 Comments
Residents of Medicine Hat prepare for flooding

Residents of Medicine Hat prepare for flooding

As floodwaters recede in some parts of southern Alberta, Lutherans are supporting their neighbours by providing practical support and planning for further assistance.

Although Calgary is beginning its assessment of damage from flooding, down river in Medicine Hat, the community is awaiting the flood waters. City officials expect record water volume levels and have already built dikes to keep the water at bay. Some 10,000 people are currently under evacuation orders. Rev. Don Schiemann, president of Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) Alberta-British Columbia District (ABC) encouraged prayer for the members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and pastor Rev. Ken Edel in Medicine Hat.

ABC District office staff will meet with pastors from Calgary, Canmore and Medicine Hat in Calgary, Tuesday, June 25 to determine what needs the church can help meet following the flooding.

Last Friday, as news of the flooding spread, a detailed report compiled by President Schiemann described how area pastors and congregations were responding to local needs. At the height of the evacuation about 75,000 Calgary residents had to leave their homes, most finding refuge with family and friends. About 2000 were left without shelter.

Pastor David Dressler at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in the south-east part of the city said on Thursday night the church gave shelter to several families and that members of the congregation were also taking in evacuees. He noted “others were busy buying up generators, de-humidifiers and other emergency supplies on behalf of those who were evacuated from their homes.”

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and School east of the city had to cope with rainfall volume as opposed to overflowing rivers. Staff built a sandbag barrier to prevent a growing “lake” of rainwater from entering the building.

West of Calgary in Canmore, which was cut off from road transportation, Rev. Mark Lobitz was hopeful on Thursday that the elevation of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church would prevent any flooding. However, Friday morning he reported that the water was rising and surrounding the building. Two families in the congregation were among those evacuated from their homes.

Writing from Germany where he is attending a church conference, Lutheran Church–Canada president, Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee assured those suffering from the floods and those giving assistance that “we are naming you now time and again in our prayers.”

He went on to encourage those living in the area that “even if you are not personally hit by this calamity, God will open doors for you to reach into the lives of other people in your area who were not so fortunate. By your love and acts of kindness to them at this time you can provide a strong witness to the Christ who stands by people in their need more than ever.”

The bishop of Lutheran Church of Australia’s Queensland district, Rev. Noel H Noack whose state experienced major floods in 2011 and earlier this year, also offered support and encouragement. “On behalf of your fellow Lutherans in Queensland I want to express deep concern for the welfare of your members and community. Please be assured of our prayers for the welfare of those affected. May the Lord provide help and support at this time of need.”

Rev. Schiemann called upon Lutheran Church-Canada to “join in single-minded prayer to our heavenly Father to comfort those who are hurting, to provide for those in need, and, in the midst of this disaster to give our people the hearts to help the helpless.”

The Alberta-British Columbia district office in Edmonton is monitoring the situation and providing updates on its website at www.lccabc.ca.

  • Thelma

    I am praying that the recovery from the floods will be fast, long lasting and full of blessings.

  • Assefa

    We are praying to our God for all victims in the church and individuals that the recovery goes well and God provides patience, love and wisdom for all authorities and our pastors also all the Albertan congregations.
    The peace of the lord be with you all !!
    Rev Assefa Aredo
    Oromo congregation of Winnipeg

  • Pastor Alan Sielk

    Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ. As we have become aware of your plight in dealing with the recent floods in your area, know that we, here in St. Paul Lutheran Church, Miami, FL, are mindful of your challenges, as we too face flooding and storm issues from time to time. We shall be praying for you in every aspect of your recovery as God wills it. Although we are in opposite sides of the continent, we know that our mutual commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and our love for all those who suffer loss and are in need of help bind us in inextricably. May the Lord continue to bless all Albertan churches in every way, and may you all be kept in safety and in service and in His joy.