From the Bishop


Messages and information from the Rt Revd Stuart Robinson, Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn.

Monday 19 March

Beloved in Christ,
You will no doubt be aware of the loss of property and homes — through fire — in the Parish of Bega and in particular, the community of Tathra. The Reverend Stuart Haynes and his team from Bega have been present at the fire-ground assisting with evacuations, caring for parishioners and helping where needed. Our General Manager, Mr Ament, will be in the area today assessing damage to Wambiri (if access is granted—as the community is in lock-down) and working through how best we can serve the wider community.

Bishop Trevor has full carriage of this matter and will give you updates as they come to hand. At this point, I would ask that you bring this matter before the Lord.

For Jesus,

Heavenly Father,
We pray now for those in emergency services who are fighting fires and caring for those in distress.
We know property and stock have been destroyed and we ask you, O Lord, to comfort and uphold people in shock and those who have been injured.
Thank you for the ministry of the Reverend Stuart and Mrs Kathy Haynes and those who serve with them. Give them wisdom, grace, resilience and needed rest.
Please uphold Bishop Trevor and Mr Ament as they oversee and orchestrate a diocesan response.
May you be honoured and glorified in and through all that takes place in and through your people.
Thank you for hearing and answering this prayer.

Update: Tues 20 March

Greetings. This will be my final note on the fire situation on the Coast. I’ll be packing and moving today and tomorrow. +Trevor will keep you apprised of developments from this point forward.

Archdeacon Carol Wagner advises me that her team(s) of clergy and lay people — especially those with disaster recovery training — have been engaging with people impacted by the fires and are offering excellent pastoral care.

There is also very good cooperation between the different relief agencies as needs are being assessed and as interim shelter and care programmes come on line.

Archdeacon Carol believes around 100 homes are now being listed as having being destroyed. This means many hundreds of people are homeless.

Our General Manager, Mr Trevor Ament, and Property Manager, Michael Stallard, visited the district yesterday and met with clergy, school and community leaders; those people expressed their gratitude to our diocese for the rapid and generous response. Anglicare has been universally praised.

Mr Ament also advised me that whilst our Wambiri site seems to have escaped the flames, the smoke damage is likely to be significant.

The Local Government website has information on donations: "The Tathra Fire Official Mayor Appeal fund has just been set up. Authorities are asking people who want to help to donate money to this official fund, they've asked us to thank everyone who has donated goods, they say there is now enough, and if people want to help they can ring 6499 2345 … and make a donation. That's the number for the Mayoral Appeal Fund. More information here:"

You may wish to use the following prayer:

Almighty God, who alone created the beauty and the bounty of our land, who cares for and loves this diocese, uphold your people in Tathra and across the Bega Valley, we pray.
Please bring an end to the loss of homes, stock, fauna and property. Bring aid to the firefighters, emergency workers and disaster recovery teams who, by serving others, serve you. Give them courage and strength to persevere, to find the ability in their bodies and souls to keep working for another day or hour or minute. Ease the winds that have spread the flames and disperse the smoke that has covered the sky.
Please bring hope to the displaced and the homeless. Keep alive — in their minds and hearts memories — the traces of that which may be lost. Remind us that through Jesus, you hold the promise of a new tomorrow.
Be a comfort and relief to all who grieve and enable us to continue in showing your love and compassion.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602
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