Of all the natural disasters that could occur in South Australia, the most common is fire. We are now only half way through the summer and we have known the disastrous fire that started at Pinery in the Mid-North and many smaller fires in other places. Fires have had an enormous impact on many families and communities. Churches in and around the affected areas are finding ways of helping.
One Tree Hill Uniting Church and UCare Gawler put together hampers for families and individuals who experienced the devastation of the fire. They moved quickly into action with fifteen volunteers cooking food, packing boxes and sharing clothes with people who lost everything.
UCare Gawler is a community organisation in the UnitingCare network providing emergency assistance to people in the Gawler region and the Pinery bushfires saw them undertake one of their biggest relief efforts to date, assisted by a grant of $8,000 from UC Invest.
Early in the life of the Uniting Church in South Australia, the Uniting Church SA Relief Fund was set up to assist congregations, communities and individuals affected by natural disasters and other adverse circumstances. Donations to this fund currently are being used to support local congregations as they discern how best to serve the people in their fire affected communities whether that be through the provision of chaplaincy, extra pastoral support, special events to assist in recovery or practical help in a myriad of ways.
Your tax deductible donation will assist the church to actively demonstrate God's grace to people who are in physical, emotional and spiritual distress as a result of disaster. Send your donation to Uniting Church SA Relief Fund, GPO Box 2145 Adelaide 5001; or visit http/sa.uca.au/pastoral-relations/uniting-church-sa-relief-fund
South Australia is not alone in this bushfire season. Western Australia and Victoria have both known disastrous fires this summer and there have been smaller fires in many places. At a national level, the Uniting Church Assembly has a National Disaster Recovery Officer, the Rev Dr Stephen Robinson. He works with the Disaster Recovery Coordinators of each Synod, offering resources and support. Recently, he wrote:
I visited Adelaide and travelled to the area affected by the Pinery Fire, meeting with ministers in the local area, training chaplains to work in the relief centres (an arrangement managed by the Synod), and helping the Synod's facilitation of a UCA minister to conduct disaster recovery work in the area for at least the next six months.
In the same way as fire services urge people to form a fire plan, I would ask that each Synod, Presbytery and Church Council create a basic action plan in preparation for a response to an emergency, especially during the holiday break
The Assembly also has a National Disaster Relief Fund, currently supporting bushfire affected communities in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria. Visit www.assembly.uca.org.au/national-disaster-relief-fund
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