Wednesday, 09 January 2013

Prayers for people facing bushfires

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney has extended prayers for those experiencing hardship and loss in bushfires across the country.

 "Our prayers and condolences go out for those who have lost homes, including several Uniting Aged Care staff in Tasmania," said Rev. Prof. Dutney.

"We mourn your losses with you and share your grief in this time of trial."

"In regions where fires are still burning, we pray that emergencies pass without further loss."

"We pray too for those fighting the fires and ministering to people in evacuation centres, and give thanks for their courage and dedication."

In Tasmania, the Uniting Church is actively involved in relief and recovery efforts. Church agency facilities have been opened for use for disaster relief, including Scots-Memorial Child Care which has opened its doors to children of families who have been evacuated. Uniting Church ministers are also providing pastoral support in evacuation centres. UnitingCare is offering emergency relief money through Hobart Benevolent Society.

UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania's fundraising arm, SHARE, has set up an appeal for Church members wanting to donate to people affected by the bushfires in Tasmania. https://secure.donman.net.au/client/ShareAppeal/Donate.aspx  At the request of disaster response co-ordinators, all financial support is being channelled through the Red Cross and material support through the St Vincent de Paul Society.

In NSW, fires are burning out of control across thousands of hectares of bushland with a number of stock losses expected. Fire warnings have also been issued across Queensland as residents there face heat wave conditions and extreme fire danger in the next few days.

Assembly officers are preparing to open the Church's National Disaster Fund for donations should further relief be required.

"Across the country Uniting Church congregations and local prayer groups have been responding with courage and compassion to the emergencies they are facing," said Rev. Prof. Dutney.

"The Uniting Church is committed to these communities for the long term. I hope that our prayers and support can bring some comfort those enduring hardship, wherever they may be."