This week's reflection reminds us of the real story of Christmas.
Urgent prayer and support needed for those affected by recent bushfires
Posted in Faith
As you celebrate this Christmas, and in the coming weeks, I invite you to remember in your prayers the South Australian communities who have been devastated by the bushfire events of the past few days which have shocked us all. Fires have burned large parts of the Adelaide Hills, Yorke Peninsula, Mallee and Kangaroo Island. Two people have lost their lives and several have been injured.
Many have lost property, livestock and belongings - with the full cost of the blaze yet to be determined.
I have contacted the leaders of congregations living in these areas and have heard of the disbelief and sadness at the devastation. They have expressed their thanks to people who have provided assistance and relief to those in need, as well as pastoral support.
Stories are told of the courage and perseverance of firefighters and other emergency service workers in saving many lives and much property. I ask that the Uniting Church community pray for them and for the people who have lost loved ones, those hospitalised, those who have damaged property and those displaced from their homes: that they experience God’s comfort and peace amongst the devastation.
Prayer is also needed for those offering practical, pastoral and emotional support at this time. Click here to download a prayer, adapted from the Moderator of the NSW and ACT Synod, Rev Simon Hansford, which may be helpful. Disaster and Recovery Ministries, coordinated by the Uniting Church, is deploying trained chaplains to Relief Centres at Highbury and Mount Barker as per our role in the State Emergency Management Plan. Many will also be involved in the new year on teams visiting those affected by this tragedy.
Along with prayer, we are also inviting congregations and/or individuals to make financial donations wherever possible. This can be actioned through the Synod of SA website, Bushfire Relief fund. The donations are tax deductible and will be used to support congregations in the bushfire areas as they serve the people in their fire-affected communities in practical and pastoral ways.
General Secretary, Rev Felicity Amery, joins me in extending our thoughts and prayers and those of the SA Synod, to emergency service workers, chaplains and congregations responding to these devastating fires. May God sustain and strengthen them all.
In the days and weeks ahead, may we all experience God’s love and peace as we remember Jesus’ birth, sharing compassion, joy and comfort with those around us and beyond as we celebrate Immanuel, God with us.
Yours in Christ
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