Flooding in Perth-Andover

On Friday March 23rd Perth-Andover was declared a state of emergency as the Saint John River spilled its banks into our village in Northwestern New Brunswick. Around 500 people were directly affected when their homes or businesses were damaged by record-level floodwaters.

Our Church building was in the middle of the flood zone and was one of four churches seriously affected. At it’s highest, the contaminated river water filled our basement to the top and overflowed into our sanctuary about 6-8 inches, doing some major damage to the main floor. The basement houses our kitchen, nursery, fellowship hall, storage, and the Perth-Andover Playschool.

Despite the basement being full of water on Sunday morning, we made a decision to continue with worship. The Aroostook Baptist Church welcomed us to join them for a combined service. That Sunday was scheduled to be a celebration of our 180th Anniversary, and so Pastor Pardy of the Aroostook Church allowed us to take over their service and continue with our plans, including guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Malcolm Card. Malcolm was the pastor of our Church over 40 years ago. His sermon, prepared before the flood, was incredibly relevant, as he spoke about Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. His main point was “we can’t go back to the way things used to be, and we can’t stay where we are right now, so we must move forward.”

Some people were in tears as I showed a slideshow of pictures from inside the flooded Church building. Some of our members have worshipped in that same building for over 80 years. The building is 107 years old. Sheila Cummings gave a speech on the Church’s history and emphasized the important truth that the Church is not the building, but the people.

I want to say too that I have been impressed with the number of phone calls and emails I’ve received from churches all over the Convention offering their prayers and support. It means a great deal.

In the coming weeks we have some major decision to make as we consider our options. Please remember us in your prayers.

Submitted by Rev. Michael Fredericks, Senior Pastor of Perth-Andover Baptist Church

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