The heaviest rainfall in recent memory led to devastating floods in the Western and Southern Part of Germany. The flooding badly affected regions also of Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The Baptist Church in Hagen was completely flooded. Boxes and chairs float in brown water, the newly renovated organ, the piano, microphones and other furniture are also in 1.20 meters of deep water. The pastor said to us that he is deeply sadden when he thinks of the neighbourhood, as entire livelihoods have been destroyed there. A firefighter was killed during rescue operations. Some other churches are affected, too. From the Baptist Church in Remagen (Credogemeinde) we heard that two, possibly three church members were swept away by the water in front of their house and have not yet been found. Some houses had their entire interior destroyed and cars were washed away.
Our churches from all over the country are helping the affected churches. They just come and give a hand to clean up the mud and water. We are very thankful for all the compassion and solidarity from all over the world. We received emails from Spain, India, Peru, Croatia, Ukraine, Greece and more. We also mourn with all the people who suffer in our neighbour countries.
More information in german language: befg.de/flut
The Union of Evangelical Free Churches in Germany (Bund Evangelisch-Freikirchlicher Gemeinden in Deutschland – BEFG) is a free church. It is a corporation under public law. In 1941 Baptist and Brethren congregations in Germany merged to form the BEFG. The division of Germany after World War II also divided the BEFG. After the reunification the Unions of East and West Germany were also able to reunite. The headquarters of the BEFG is in Elstal near Berlin.
The BEFG sees itself as part of the worldwide Christian Church. Through the Union congegrations support each other and carry out projects they would not be able to implement on their own. The National Headquarters and the Departments in Elstal are partners for the local congregations. They offer a variety of material and programmes to support the local churches in shaping Christian life and community and sharing God’s love.
The BEFG consists of 12 Regional Associations. Leadership on a national level is provided by the elected voluntary Steering Committee and the salaried Executive Board. The National Council is the church’s parliament of all congregations and organisations within the Union, and the highest decision-making body of the BEFG. On a local level each congregation makes its own independent decisions.
The heart of church life is worship service. It does not follow one specific liturgy. The Bible as the Word of God and its interpretation in the sermon is central to this worship. Church life is also characterized by a strong community and active participation of members in all areas of church life.