As the community continues to clean up after the flood, volunteers have reached out to help with physical needs. Yet faith-based organizations hope to reach victims' less tangible needs: Spiritual comfort through prayer and emotional support.

Though faith-based communities have rallied around their congregations and the larger community in order to clean out basements, donate clothing or provide temporary housing, congregations also hope to reach out to those who have needs that can't be addressed with Dumpsters, shovels or sump pumps, said Jeff Hoffmeyer, pastor at Valmont Community Church.

"A lot of people are asking, 'Did God do this? Is he mad at me?" Hoffmeyer said. "We want to reach out and tell people, no, God isn't repeatedly pushing the flood button on us. This was a natural disaster, and God is here for us."

Hoffmeyer and other faith leaders from several other churches will host a Tuesday night prayer session to help people focus on their spiritual needs and gain support that goes beyond replacing furniture and carpet. He expects leaders from more than a dozen faith communities to be present, and the event is open to anyone, regardless of their faith background.

The prayer service is at

7 p.m. Tuesday at Boulder Valley Christian Church, 7100 South Boulder Road.

Matt Carlson, pastor at Boulder Valley Christian Church, said it is obvious people are going through a tough time right now, but they might not be getting the spiritual support they need as they focus on straightening out their homes and lives.


In addition to dispatching church volunteers to help people rebuild, Boulder Valley church-goers are also offering simple words of encouragement or time for a quick prayer -- things that sometimes get lost in the hubbub of sorting through ruined possessions, he said.

"It's more than just cutting out drywall or pumping out basements. It's taking a minute to pray with people, or just to look them in the eyes and ask, 'how are you doing?" "

Carlson and Hoffmeyer, along with many other Boulder-area pastors, are part of an informal monthly meet-up of Boulder's Christian communities. The group met earlier this week to go through immediate needs and discuss ways to help both practically and spiritually.

The prayer service at Boulder Valley Christian Church came together quickly, in part because the faith community members already had their meet-up network in place, Hoffmeyer said.

Boulder's Jewish community also has been able to rally help and spiritual support through its tight network that encompasses reform, renewal and orthodox communities.

The flood impacted many Yom Kippur services, but organizations such as Chabad offered families free hotel rooms in Westminster so they could experience a dry holiday.

Boulder Jewish News, run by Cheryl and Dave Fellows, has continually updated its site, boulderhjewish, which offers resources for Boulder's Jewish community to receive both practical and spiritual help.

Rabbi Marc Soloway of Congregation Bonai Shalom also offered a prayer for Jewish Boulderites who are picking up the pieces.

"May we be strong, may we be wholehearted, may we never lose hope," he said.

Carlson said he is happy and impressed that the Boulder County community -- regardless of its religious background -- has come together to clean up flooded basements or offer meals to those displaced by the high waters or slept on their own couches so strangers could have a dry bed in which to sleep.

He said the selflessness is truly reflective of the faith he tries to spread each Sunday.

"That spiritual openness -- we hope to have it for a while before everyday life rushes back in," he said.

Megan Quinn writes a faith column once a week for the Camera. Contact her at