Faith and flooding in Fargo

fargoJournalistically speaking, this might not be the best story you read today. It's a bit choppy and seems to weld two different stories together. But they're both important stories and one is about how churches are responding to the flooding in Fargo. Before we take a look at it, you should definitely check out this Boston Globe photo compilation of the Red River flooding going on right now. The pictures are amazing and do a great job of telling the story of communities coming together to battle the elements.

A major part of the communities in North Dakota and Minnesota are local churches, of course. And so here's the Associated Press story mentioned above and headlined "Fargo divides day between church, city's salvation."

Weary residents of this sandbagged city came together in churches Sunday, counting their blessings that the Red River finally stopped rising and praying the levees would hold back its wrath. . . .

Church services that are a staple of life on Sunday mornings in Fargo took on greater significance as people gathered after a week of round-the clock sandbagging. They sang hymns and held hands, asking together for divine help in avoiding disaster.

"At a time like this, we need to call on God's providential assistance," said the Rev. Bob Ona, pastor of Fargo's First Assembly of God church. "All of you have been heroic in your efforts. All of you have been pushed past the wall of weariness, exhaustion and numerous frustrations in order to do the right thing -- help people in the name of the Lord."

The article then has a ton of the technical details about flood crests and expectations for levee stability. It also mentions a day school affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a congregation that's part of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America before returning to the church mentioned in the lede:

The pastor at the Assemblies of God church said now was the time to turn to spirituality for hope and not obsess about material possessions. After a week in which the church used its buses to shuttle people to feverish sandbagging efforts, Ona told the congregation that "we have done everything we can do, humanly speaking."

"We don't feel we deserve any awards or plaques for what we did," he added. "We are a church. This is what we do."

So much of telling a story about a threatened community is understanding what sustains that same community. It's a pretty safe bet that religion plays a significant role in that story and it's nice to see it mentioned by the AP.

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