I am sure that watching the continuing threat of the bushfires have been as distressing for you as I. The scale, ferocity and devastation is overwhelming.
Like you I have been praying that God will send rain, and that those who have been giving so much of themselves to defend others from harm will be upheld with energy and safety. Please continue to pray.
You may also be wanting to know how to give to assist those who have been affected by the fires. This is a good and godly impulse. Indeed, it was concern that the new churches in what we now know as Turkey, Macedonia and Greece come alongside the first church in Jerusalem with spiritual and practical support that drove much of Paul’s teaching. It was the ‘hands-on’ substance to the fellowship (koinonia) that we have with followers of Jesus who are in distress.
There are three practical ways that we can do this as a diocese.
Yes prayer is practical!) You may like to use this prayer which was written in Sydney for those experiencing the fires around Nowra.
Our heavenly Father, creator of all things and especially the creator of this land and its original peoples, we call out to you in these desperate times as fires have swept across several parts of our country.
Our hearts cry out to you for those who have lost loved ones, and those who have lost properties in the wake of these ravaging fires
Father we pray, in your mercy, restrain the forces of nature from creating catastrophic damage; in your mercy protect human life.
Guard those volunteers, rural fire service personnel and emergency services who selflessly step into the breach to fight these fires. Guide police and authorities who help evacuate and shelter those who are displaced. Bring comfort and healing to all who suffer loss.
Remembering your promises of old that seedtime and harvest will never cease, we pray that you would open the heavens to send refreshing rain upon our parched land.
In your mercy, we pray for drenching rain.
We pray that despite the forecasts, in your miraculous power you would bring forth rain to quench these fires and to bring life back into the earth, so that crops may grow and farmers may bring forth the harvest of the land again.
We bring these requests before your throne, in the name of your Son, who died and rose again for our deliverance. Amen.
We will activate the New Horizons Welfare Services fund as a collection point for financial donations. I will send specific instruction early next week as to the best way to give into this fund. You may mark these to go to the Dioceses of Gippsland or Canberra & Goulburn as these two dioceses seem to be under the most pressure at this time. NHWS will then send the various amounts directly to the appropriate diocesan agency in these places. If you have non-perishable food, toiletries or new bedding, Rev Mel Clark is able to have them delivered to Anglicare Vic in Morwell who will then be able to distribute them. Please contact Mel (email below) if you wish to contribute.
Prayers and messages of fellowship
I would like for us to be able to send messages of encouragement and fellowship to the churches who have been hit. If you would like to write to either Gippsland (especially Rev Jude Benton in Mallacoota), Canberra Goulburn or Wangaratta please send them by Wednesday 15/1/20 to either:
- Gippsland – Rev Mel Clark (email@example.com) or
- Canberra and Goulburn – Archdeacon Peter Blundell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Wangaratta – Canon Sandra Field email@example.com
We will moderate these contributions to ensure that they are appropriate and then send them as an electronic document to +Richard and +Mark respectively.
The guidelines for these messages are:
1 page max
Seek to encourage through a reminder of God’s promises to us
Avoid trite or incomplete statements like ‘I know how you feel’ or ‘this is part of God’s plan’
A prayer or illustrated bible verse with you name might be a good start.
Your servant in Christ,