Australia has just come out of its hottest summer on record with rainfall well below average. Widespread drought and heatwaves have caused great hardship across much of the land, with crops failed or not planted, and farmers selling off precious breeding stock which are no longer able to be fed.
Fires have devastated large areas in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW. In the wake of Cyclone Oma, monsoonal rain has caused extensive flooding in and beyond Townsville, causing losses to stock which – until that time – were being nursed through drought conditions.
The Uniting Church is in all these places and continually seeks to bring support and relief in disaster through its congregations, presbyteries and a range of ministries which reach out to people in need.
Launching a National Appeal, President of the Uniting Church Dr Deidre Palmer urged Uniting Church members to give generously to the National Disaster Relief Fund. This fund supports the work of disaster relief in every state and territory.
“In times of disaster, local communities pull together to support one another other,” said Dr Palmer.
“Our Christian faith calls us to walk alongside each other through tough times, and this is what many in the Uniting Church are doing.”
“The National Disaster Relief Fund is one way we can support this work and provide relief to communities where it is much needed and greatly valued.”
“I invite those who are able to make a donation as a practical expression of your care and compassion for our neighbours.”
“For those whose communities are impacted, I encourage you to be in contact with Rev. Dr Stephen Robinson, the National Disaster Recovery Officer of the Uniting Church, to see how you can access the fund.”
Most recently the National Disaster Relief Fund has been used to support relief projects in communities affected by bushfires in South Australia and following up on cyclones and flooding in the Northern Territory and Queensland
Rev. Dr Stephen Robinson said donations made a huge difference in supporting disaster relief ministry and chaplaincy in remote areas where resources in pastoral care are scarce and finances are tight.
“Whenever disasters unfold, ministers and other church leaders in the community provide a key role in supporting their communities through a very difficult time.”
“This fund is a way of helping those who are providing support on the frontline.”
He urged people to give generously to the appeal, and where a good project needs support, he encouraged people to apply for funds.