Pastoral Note – Bushfire Update
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Dear sisters and brothers in Christ
Catastrophic fire conditions continue to have an impact across our country and at this moment we are especially mindful of what is happening on Kangaroo Island.
Across South Australia some people have lost their lives and several have been injured. Many have lost property, livestock, belongings and income – with the full cost of the fires yet to be determined for individuals as well as for communities.
The Murdoch Hill Uniting Church in the Adelaide Hills lost some outbuildings and on Kangaroo Island, the Stokes Bay Community Hall, where the Uniting Church congregation met, has been destroyed. At this stage we are unsure whether other UC property on the Island has been affected, but we know that many many residents have certainly been impacted.
Please join me in continuing to pray for protection for all those fighting the fires, for the people who have suffered loss, for those comforting the people suffering, and for those who are providing practical support.
Along with your prayers, I encourage you to continue to support those providing care to people affected by the fires in practical ways, by donating to the UCSA Relief Fund (details here [https://sa.uca.org.au/placements/uniting-church-sa-relief-fund]) and other appeals in the affected areas. At this point in time, the best donation you can make is money. Local agencies are finding to difficult to handle donations of goods already made.
With the help of your generous donations, the Synod has been able to appoint Rev Matt Curnow and Rev Dr Phil Marshall to work with the communities impacted by the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island fires respectively. Their work will be in addition to, and in support of, the ministers and chaplains already working in the fire-affected communities. Both roles will include assisting congregations to actively demonstrate God’s grace to people around them who are in great physical, emotional and spiritual distress as a result of this disaster.
There will be a short service at Balhannah UC this Sunday afternoon 12 January, commencing at 1.30pm, where we will induct Rev Matt Curnow as 0.5FTE Adelaide Hills Disaster Recovery Pastor in the context of some musical and spoken reflections on the ongoing recovery process after the recent fires. UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer will participate in the service and represent the support of the Uniting Church across Australia at this time. There will also be an offering taken for the UCSA Relief Fund – Bushfire Relief Appeal.
Recovery from such disasters goes on for months and years; in many ways it is never complete. There will be many opportunities to support people across our state in pastoral, practical and financial ways during this time.
Your continued prayers and messages of encouragement are important and appreciated.
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The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of South Australia
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