Vicar of Powick, Gary Crellin, reflects on last week's flooding in his parish.
The village of Powick nestles in the hinterlands between the Malvern hills and Worcester. It also straddles the flood plains of the Rivers Teme and Severn. As this inter has been more wet than frosty, the main road has flooded intermittently since last summer, but not at the scale and duration as this past week.
The last time the River Teme flooded in such a dramatic fashion was in 2007, but local residents could not have predicted last week’s floods would be worse than then. 16 houses in this community were affected, with residents being put up in local hotels and families. Roads were closed though the village, including the main arterial road between Worcester and Malvern. Only now can damage and the extent of loss, both physically and spiritually, be established.
St Peter's Church was keen to help. The church in Powick commands a great view of the flood and my first reaction was to sell everything - cash in the investments - we need wood and tar to build an Ark! In the end, an ark was what we provided. In response to community need, I opened the church to receive donations of food, cleaning materials and bedding to help those that really needed our help. Over 100 people arrived with donations over two nights and the church was given over to a big "Bring and Share" opportunity. As well as donations, we heard people's stories and provided opportunities just to hold in prayer those families so afflicted by this painful experience.
The pastoral need in the part of the village is only being assessed now that the roads are passable and access to the scene is possible. I have heard families that had to be rescued by Fire and Rescue by pontoon barge . The damage is extensive - some families have lost such a lot - in terms of processions and livelihood. I know that the churches can be used to support those in need after the initial burst of helpful support has passed and the cold realisation of what lies ahead becomes apparent. We need to be there to journey along side these people who will be journeying through the shock, pain and stress of this predicament, not just this week but in the months to come.