Episcopal congregations and dioceses across California are tending to damaged church buildings and helping their communities recover from an intense barrage of deadly rainstorms in recent weeks that has caused flooding, mudslides and power outages, report David Paulsen and Egan Millard for Episcopal News Service.
California has been plagued for several years by low rainfall, which has fueled devastating wildfires up and down the state. Now the sudden surge in rainstorms is causing its own set of problems. Known as atmospheric rivers, the long, narrow moisture-bearing weather patterns have dropped more than half a year’s worth of rain in just over two weeks.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Diocese of California reported that at least three churches sustained damage from flooding: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Belmont, Transfiguration Episcopal Church in San Mateo and Holy Child & St. Martin Episcopal Church in Daly City. Episcopalians in Alameda, meanwhile, have volunteered at Christ Episcopal Church’s warming shelter so it can stay open around the clock for those displaced by the storms, ENS reports.
In the Diocese of Los Angeles, staff members have reached out to congregational leaders to offer assistance as needed. East of Santa Barbara in Montecito, All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church closed its doors, as well as its adjacent school, when the storm-threatened community was evacuated on Jan. 9.
Five years ago, the church served as a hub for emergency services when Montecito was hit hard by mudslides. This year, the storms so far have caused far less damage and disruption.
To read more details about which Episcopal churches are affected, click here.