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‘Whole streets wiped out’: Welby witnesses flood damage in Lismore, NSW

14 October 2022

Diocese of Grafton

Archbishop Welby is shown round the city of Lismore, in northern New South Wales, on Friday

Archbishop Welby is shown round the city of Lismore, in northern New South Wales, on Friday

THE Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife, Caroline Welby, visited homes and businesses on Friday that are still recovering from the record-breaking flood that hit Lismore, in the diocese of Grafton, in northern New South Wales in February.

Extensive flooding is again taking place in the country, after record amounts of rain in the past days.

The Archbishop and Mrs Welby are on a two-week visit to Australia, which has included visits to Indigenous ministries in Sydney and preaching in cathedrals in Perth and Melbourne.

The Rector of St Andrew’s, Lismore, the Revd Christian Ford, introduced the Archbishop and Mrs Welby to parishioners still unable to return to their homes. Among those that they met were a family who are living in a caravan in the backyard of their damaged home, and a parishioner awaiting a lung transplant who is now living with other parishioners. Mr Ford said that the parishioner was deeply moved that Archbishop Welby had prayed with him.

Lismore City News reported that Archbishop Welby was surprised by the extent of the damage. “I mean, just whole streets [were] completely wiped out,” he said. “And [there were] very, very few people in particular streets who had gone back into their own home at all.” He was impressed by the “intense courage” that he had witnessed, and the “let’s get on with it” attitude.

The Archdeacon of Grafton, the Ven. Tiffany Sparks, said that Archbishop Welby’s visit had been “a really heartening and uplifting time for the diocese”.

During his visit, Archbishop Welby attended a midday prayer service at the city’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, which had been damaged during the flood. Both the Archbishop and the RR Bishop of Lismore, the Rt Revd Greg Homeming, gave brief homilies.

From Lismore, Archbishop Welby moved on to North Queensland for the last stage of his Australian visit.

On Thursday evening, he gave a lecture on peace and reconciliation at Emmanuel Anglican College in Ballina, a town in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

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