FROM THE NSW DISTRICT BISHOP
THE BUSHFIRE CRISIS
The bushfires across the state are testing us. Whether we are in the midst of it or watching from the sidelines via TV or internet, we are emotionally caught up in the tragedy unfolding before our eyes. Normally in a disaster, the crisis comes, the crises fades and then we get back to normal living.
But this current crisis is different. It keeps coming. Every seven days, as the next cool change arrives, it brings heightened wind and once again fires flare out of control, only to wreak more havoc. We know full well that we are not yet at the end of this fire emergency across Australia.
In NSW the Lutheran church is small compared to South Australia, Queensland and Victoria. 57 congregations, served by 32 pastors. The NSW church has congregations which are mainly in three areas. The greater Sydney metropolitan area, Canberra, and in the central south of the state, the Riverina area. Thankfully there have been no major fires in these three areas. There have been some fires which have encroached at the edges, but by and large these zones have been spared and no losses have been reported.
It follows then - as far as we know at this point - there are no NSW Lutheran members that have lost their property or lives in the NSW fires. The only church community that is threatened by fire is the Springwood congregation in the Blue Mountains and so far they have been protected and all their properties and people are safe. One Sydney family had fire all around their holiday house in the Blue mountains, but even that is still intact.
Because we as the NSW church are not currently directly in touch with people who are in the forefront of the emergency, we are recommending that if you wish to give a donation, please do so through the Red Cross (https://www.redcross.org.au/).
That being said, there will be many people who have lost homes and who need help to restore their lives. You may come in contact with some of them. I am suggesting that when you hear of someone you know who has lost a home or someone dear to them, you make personal contact with them every month for the next six months and ask them is there anything you can do to help. Then when you know what it is, go and ask others from your congregation to help supply that need. This crisis invites us all to walk alongside of people through the days and months ahead.
If there is no substantial rain, there will be weeks left to go in this crisis. We are not at the end. Pray that God would sustain us all. Pray that you have the emotional courage to offer help and have opportunity to give witness to God whose grace in Jesus Christ has been shown to all Australians so that none would perish eternally but that all might be saved.
I pray that God will have mercy on us all.
We Pray For:
† People in danger zones for bushfires, that they will be safe.
† God to show us how to help those who have lost their homes to bushfires and need help to restore their lives, and the emotional courage to offer help.
† Opportunities to give witness to God whose grace in Jesus Christ has been shown to all Australians so that none would perish eternally.