By ACNS staff
Anglicans in Bermuda have expressed their deep gratitude to God and to their brothers and sisters around the Anglican Communion after surviving two tropical storms.
On Thursday of last week, after having lived through Tropical Storm Fay, Bermudians were bracing themselves for worse. Tropical Depression Gonzalo had become a Category 4 hurricane and was predicted to make a direct hit on Bermuda on Friday morning with wind speeds in excess of 130mph.
This prompted Anglicans there to appeal to the Anglican Communion to pray “for safety and security”. The call went out via news services and social media.
On sites like Facebook and Twitter Anglicans and Episcopalians from places including Japan, Canada, Nigeria, the West Indies and the Azores Islands wrote that they were praying for the people of Bermuda.
Anglicans worldwide were praying for Bermuda and sharing their prayers on social media
Priest-in-charge of St Paul’s Church in Paget the Revd Anthony Pettit explained that despite the fury of the storm and the chaos of the aftermath, churchgoers expressed a peace that could only be God’s presence with them.
“We were so appreciative. A lot of folk [who attended church] yesterday spoke about their enormous sense of gratefulness and thanksgiving to God and to our sisters and brothers,” he told ACNS.
“We’d used the reading from the previous week because we hadn’t managed to have any services then. It was from Philippians 4 Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice! The sense that the peace of God which passes all understanding really was with us above all other things, it was just amazing.
The rectory suffered some damage during the hurricane. Credit: Anthony Pettit
“Until you’ve been in it you can’t really describe it. It’s just this sense that you know you’re in something massive that you can’t control that is completely terrifying…but that doesn’t leave you with that sense of despair. [Rather] you have a sense of hope and a sense that all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
Mr Pettit who, along with many other Bermudians, only had power and running water restored to his home yesterday, said that knowing other Anglicans and Episcopalians were holding Bermuda in their thoughts and prayers made the Church there “feel loved”.
“So often Bermuda feels unloved. We get nonsense from certain NGOs who call us a tax haven and say we’re just money laundering and Bermuda really isn’t like that. Bermuda is a place that has serious poverty and social problems. Bermuda is [also] a wonderful place with amazing Christian folk. And to know that we were supported by our Christian brothers and sisters in prayer… has just been so uplifting.”
Initially a category 4 storm as it approached the island, Hurricane Gonzalo weakened and was downgraded to a category 2 storm on Friday before it made landfall on the British overseas territory.
Along with the rest of the locals, the churches there are now assessing practical and physical damage and are making sure everyone in the local community is cared for and have access to basic services.
One problem for the church is damage to stone structures including the war memorial. Credit: Anthony Pettit
A particular problem for Bermuda, however, is the fact that much of it is rock with very little soil. This means that people are buried in tombs topped with stone rather than graves dug in the ground.
Mr Pettit explained that the strong winds had damaged some of these stone tops leaving the Church there with the expensive task of repairing damaged tombs. Clergy will also be providing pastoral support to those whose relatives’ graves had been disturbed.