Floods. Hurricanes. Droughts. Wildfires.
In the summer of 2021, the people of Detroit were struck by a “100 Year Flood.” The flood of 2021 was the city’s 2nd historic flood in just 7 years. During the night, an electric water pump failed in Detroit’s historic Jefferson Chalmers District, which contributed to the severity of the disaster. By morning, thousands of homes were flooded with a combination of storm and sewer water. This 4-Session Bible Study invites you to read Noah’s story with new eyes; to examine the United Methodist Church’s teachings on Global Climate Stewardship; to explore the impact even one disaster can have on individual lives; and, to celebrate people who are coming up with creative ways to care for God’s Creation. More than anything, it is a call to recognize the role people are playing in the severe weather of our time…and what we can do to change it.
Session 1: The Floods of Climate Change
In recent years, there has been an increasing number of severe weather events around the world. These days, just watching the news can feel apocalyptic, as though the sky is falling around us. The devastation caused by such events often prompts people to ask: Why does God allow disasters to happen when they cause so much human suffering?
Session 2: The Flood of 2021
On June 25, 2021, the residents of Detroit went to bed like any other night. The next morning, thousands of people awoke to discover their basements had flooded with up to 8 feet of stormwater and sewage. Furniture was destroyed. Washers and dryers were overturned. Family heirlooms had been ruined. Lives were disrupted as people were forced to move out of homes until they could be decontaminated - a process which took months for some residents. Across the country, United Methodists began to wonder: What could we do to help Detroiters rebuild their lives?
Session 3: A Flood of Aging Infrastructure
When you visit a city after a flood, you notice the signs of life: standing on rain-soaked streets that have since turned dry; volunteer teams cleaning out basements; piles of trash by the side of the road waiting to be collected while people make small steps to move forward and rebuild their lives. There is a peculiar calm - a stillness to the air in a place where disaster has come and gone. You look around and wonder: What are the signs that life is beginning to return to “normal?”
Session 4: 100 Year Flood
The Flood of 2021 damaged thousands of homes. It was the 2nd historic flood to hit the city in just 7 years, and scientists expect more floods to come in the future. Residents who live in areas of concentrated poverty tended to be more impacted by the storm. So, what does all this mean for the future? Will people change their lives to reduce the likelihood of events like this for their neighbors in Detroit and around the world?
- Jenny Phillips, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Board of Global Ministries
- Shana Udvardy, Senior Climate Resilience Policy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists
- Dan O’Malley, Michigan Conference (UMC) Disaster Response Coordinator
Questions? Want to continue the conversation?
Contact Mariellyn Grace at email@example.com.