We begin a New Year and a new decade with bushfire emergencies across four States in Australia.
This is a distressing time for all Australians, particularly those most directly impacted at this time.
Our hearts go out to the families of the volunteer firefighters who have lost their lives fighting to protect fellow Australians from the devastating fires.
We pray for comfort for family and friends of those who have died, protecting their homes, and caught in the ferocity of the fires.
Fires continue to rage across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
Emergency services, firefighters, community leaders and chaplains are working on the ground to protect people’s lives, their communities, and livelihoods.
We give thanks for their courage, compassion and persistence in continuing to respond and offer support.
Uniting Church congregations and chaplains are involved on the ground in responding in practical, pastoral ways.
Our Moderators in NSW/ACT, Victoria and Tasmania and South Australia have called for prayer and practical action in responding to their particular communities.
We pray for all those who are suffering, that they might know God’s grace, love and comfort.
In this time we are strengthened by our solidarity in community, our love and compassion toward our neighbours, and our resolve to walk alongside one another in our grief, and in our efforts to rebuild and bring restoration to people’s lives.
I encourage you over these coming weeks and months to take time to listen to those who are traumatised; to be attentive to ways we can most effectively support bushfire victims, which may be through pastoral and practical care, or direct financial support to official appeals.
Please continue to pray and offer messages of encouragement and support.
Thank you to the Uniting Church across Australia for embodying God’s compassion and hope in this national crisis.
We continue to pray for our world in the shadow of these unprecedented extreme weather events.
We commit ourselves to work together to address our climate crisis, and for the healing and renewal of our Earth, and a world in which all people and all creatures can flourish.