THE diocese in Europe is encouraging its flock to pray for communities struggling to cope after flash floods broke river banks and devastated towns and cities across the continent.
“Our diocesan Tweeters team are busy urging people to pray for people affected by the storms,” a spokesman for the diocese said.
At least 18 people have died in Central Europe, and many more are injured or reported missing, after a week of heavy rain caused severe flooding from France to Ukraine. Tens of thousands have been forced to abandon their homes.
“As far as I can tell, the floods in Germany have not directly affected any of our churches or congregations,” he said. “There was some damage done to St Boniface, Antwerp, in Belgium.”
Eleven people were killed in southern Germany, and lightning strikes in the west of the country injured 51 people. Two more fatalities in Romania, and one in Belgium, were reported.
In Loiret, north-west France, an 86-year-old woman drowned; a man in his seventies died after falling from a horse into a river south-east of Paris.
The Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, said on Tuesday: “Our diocese has close links of fellowship across the countries we serve, and our thoughts, love, and prayers are with people severely affected by the storms and floods in France, Germany, and Belgium.”
Residents in the French capital began to evacuate their homes last Friday as the River Seine rose to more than 20 feet — its highest level in 35 years — and flooded streets, basements, and flats. The Louvre, the Grand Palais, and Orsay museums were all closed to the public as staff moved precious works of art to higher ground.
The French President, François Hollande, declared a state of emergency in the worst-affected areas, and the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, announced emergency funding. About 17,000 homes in the country are still without electricity.
Churches in France and Germany have joined the call for prayers. The Leader of the Munich International Community Church in Bavaria, Germany, Steve Henderson, told Premier Christian Radio on Friday that people should pray “for an eagerness from Christians in that area — individually or as church families — to be involved and to provide help, care and support.”
The leader of the Elim Evangelical Church in Paris, John Lim, said: “I think there is a lot of help being given by local churches and most denominations are trying their best to answer the needs. Pray for churches.”
Water levels began to recede this week though it is thought that the damage will cost insurers millions. A missionary priest in the town of Nemours, 50 miles south of Paris, Fr Jean-Claude Cadet, told The Daily Telegraph that he would have to replace all the electrical installations in his church after it was flooded.