A storm that hit Serbia at the end of July 2023 caused extensive damage. The congregation of The United Methodist Church in Šid, which was also affected, did not stop at repairing the damage caused to its own church building.
At the end of July 2023, hail, torrential rain and a strong storm caused tremendous damage in the northern part of Serbia. There was flooding and considerable damage to traffic routes, trees were uprooted, and many roofs, windows and walls were partially or completely destroyed.
"I was just in Vienna, and as soon as I heard the news about the damage at 10 p.m., I drove back to Šid, where I arrived at 4 a.m.," said Vladimir Fazekaš, pastor of The United Methodist Church in Šid. Destroyed tiles laid next to the church building, and the water that had entered had not only affected the walls but also destroyed the floor of the small hall.
In order to be able to climb onto the roof at all and repair the damage, those responsible bought an 11-meter ladder. For two days, Pastor Fazekaš and four men from the local church were busy with roofing work, thus ensuring that further downpours could not increase the damage.
However, they did not only think of themselves, but with the help of the new ladder they also climbed onto the roofs of other houses. Eight families had contacted Pastor Fazekaš, four from the congregation, four more from the neighborhood. "These were people who had no one to help them; hopeless people who needed help," Pastor Fazekaš said. At one house, a tree had fallen on the roof; at another, a half-uprooted tree had to be cut down to prevent it from cutting the power line running right next to it in a future storm. Women from the local church stepped up to help by cooking meals during the efforts and caring for the small community that had been brought together by the storm and its impact.
The United Methodist Church in Vrbas also suffered major damage – on the one hand to the roof, although the necessary roofing work could be carried out by committed people of the local church. In addition, huge hailstones smashed eight windows, and the facade and a canopy were also affected. Whether the city of Vrbas will financially support the repair of the damage is still uncertain. However, the people of the UMC in Serbia affected by the storm will be able to count on the solidarity of Connexio develop and The United Methodist Church in Switzerland.
Source: Vladimir Fazekaš, Šid / Dragan Trajcevski, Vrbas / Urs Schweizer, Assistant to the Bishop, Zurich