Disaster and Recovery Ministries

Disaster and Recovery Ministries is a ministry of many churches in South Australia which is being coordinated by the Uniting Church. In short, it's about providing pastoral care for communities who are recovering from disasters,whether natural (bushfires, floods, severe storms etc) or those of human origin (large workplace or transport accident, terrorist attack etc).

For more information please email drm@sa.uca.org.au or phone (08) 8236 4284 during office hours.

Disaster and Recovery Chaplain Training>


What is Disaster and Recovery Ministries?

In South Australia an ecumenical network of chaplains has been established to assist people who have been affected by disasters and major emergencies within their communities. The Uniting Church coordinates this network known as Disaster and Recovery Ministries across the state, operating under a Memorandum of Understanding with the SA Government and in partnership with other participating organisations. While other services and groups will aid in taking care of people’s physical and emotional needs, chaplaincy seeks to support people’s spiritual and pastoral needs.

An ecumenical Coordinating Committee has oversight of the operations of this ministry.What is the role of DRM?

When disasters strike, people are affected in every aspect of their lives: physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Issues of meaning, justice, forgiveness, hope and worldview have spiritual elements. These are all challenged at a time of major loss, and many people connect these things with their own faith or spirituality. Holistic care should allow for pastoral and spiritual care and comfort in this context.
Disaster & Recovery Ministries Chaplains:

  • Provide pastoral presence and spiritual support to people and communities following disasters. This usually happens in Relief Centres, Recovery Centres and on follow up outreach visits throughout the community.
  • Participate in recovery activities in theaffected community.
  • Provide resources, training and support to local ministry agents as they, in turn, support their communities in recovery.

Who are the Chaplains?

Our chaplaincy team consists of volunteer chaplains from a range of Christian denominations. Some chaplains are ordained ministers and pastors, others are suitable people with a pastoral heart and skills; many of our chaplains also work as Pastoral Care Workers in schools around the state. Chaplains must be nominated by denominational or faith-group overseers and deemed to be suitable in nature for this ministry. Chaplains must have current Working with Children Checks and Police Clearance, and will adhere to our Code of Ethics and Guiding Principles.

All our chaplains undertake an intensive training course which seeks to equip them with the best skills to offer pastoral and spiritual support to disaster-affected people. Areas covered include pastoral care, the nature of compassion, phases of recovery, calming strategies, spiritual issues in trauma and the ministry of presence. Skills in caring for traumatised people are useful in a range of pastoral situations within congregational life and in the wider community.

Our chaplains bring a listening ear and let people tell their story. They are non-judgemental and refrain from preaching or telling people what to do. Their focus is on care, comfort and offering a ministry of presence to people in need.



Bushfire Relief SA

Donations to the Uniting Church SA Relief Fund will be 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 donation will assist these congregations to actively demonstrate God’s grace to people who are in great physical, emotional and spiritual distress as a result of this disaster. Click here to learn more and to make a donation.