The record floodwaters of 2019 are finally beginning to recede in the Southwest Iowa town of Hamburg.
Reverend Luke Fillmore, who is appointed to Hamburg United Methodist Church and Shenandoah United Methodist Church, reported in a phone conversation that people should be able to get in and start working on their homes and businesses within the next few days.
“The flag pole is kind of a landmark in the town, it's about the halfway point in the middle of the town,” he said. “Typically, the flooding has never been past the flagpole but this year the water was five or six blocks past it.”
The sanctuary in the Hamburg UM Church didn’t flood, but the church basement did.
“Our church is a block north of the flagpole and we didn't get much water,” Fillmore said. “Our basement was completely flooded but the sanctuary was fine. We're already in there working to get some of that stuff cleaned up.”
Fillmore’s two churches are about 26 miles apart, and he has been traveling back and forth making sure his congregation in Hamburg is safe and cared for. He has appreciated the resilience of the people there and the support he and others have received.
“I've been amazed by the support and the community coming together and doing what needs to get done,” Fillmore said. “No one is really complaining. Everyone is pulling together knowing what needs to get done. Honestly, I’m just amazed and grateful and overjoyed really.”
Support for the church and town has come not only from people in the Southwest District but all across the country.
“There have been people across the country who have contacted me and said hey we're praying, and then there's been people all across the state saying how can we help,” Fillmore said. “It's been absolutely amazing the amount of care and neighborliness that everyone's been showing.”
Four Hamburg churches are going to worship together this Sunday in the community’s school since most of the congregations do not have useable sanctuaries. After worship, a meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. open to everyone in the community.
“We're going to sit down with everyone in the community who's interested or able to help with clean up and we're going to have a roundtable discussion to start to figure out what needs to done,” Fillmore said.
“We’re trying to get done what needs to get done, and get things dry as quickly as possible,” he added.
The Iowa Conference Communications Team will have more on the recovery efforts in Hamburg next week. Follow us on social media (@IowaUMChurch) or look for more on www.iaumc.org.