President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Dr Deidre Palmer, has asked Uniting Church members to keep residents in disaster-affected areas in their prayers in the days and weeks ahead.
After heavy monsoonal rain, Townsville and surrounding areas are experiencing major flooding. Hundreds of residents have been evacuated and thousands of homes have been inundated. The Presbytery of North Queensland cancelled all church services over the weekend to ensure that no one crossed floodwaters. Some churches have opened their doors for people to gather and find support.
In Tasmania, seven homes have been destroyed in widespread bushfires, which have been burning since before Christmas. Firefighters are hoping rainfall in the coming days could help control the blazes which continue to burn out of control across the state.
“We pray for all those who are suffering through adversity, that they might know God’s grace and love and be restored in hope through it.”
“In times of natural disaster, churches are pastoral first responders to people experiencing the pain and grief of loss,” said Dr Palmer.
“I pray for our chaplains as they seek to comfort the distraught, and our local church leaders as they seek to support the communities around them.”
The Assembly’s National Disaster Recovery Officer Rev. Dr Stephen Robinson says support is available for presbyteries and congregations through Uniting Church disaster relief funds.
“As we pray and wait to see the extent of damage and loss, we will continue to make sure that local Presbyteries are aware of the availability of peer support, monetary support through Synod and Assembly disaster relief funds and the possibility of extra ministry resources which can follow up in the recovery phase.”
The Chairperson and Presbytery Minister of the Presbytery of North Queensland and the Moderator of the Synod of Queensland Rev. David Baker have shared the following prayers of intercession.
God of all comfort and compassion,
We pray for those in our community and our Presbytery
who are being or have been devastated by flood and rain. We know that while the rain has come as a blessing to some,
particularly those in our outback areas,
for those whose properties are inundated or lives that have been threatened,
we pray for your protection and mercy. Strengthen those who are isolated,
Who lay sleeplessly at night concerned for their own
and their neighbour’s safety. Keep at bay the spread of disease
And show mercy and give strength
to our emergency services and SES volunteers. Protect those who are trapped in floodwaters,
particularly those who are visitors to our region
and have no home in which to find comfort. May our response to the suffering of others be generous and bring you praise.
For we ask this in Jesus’ name.
Rev. Garry Hardingham, Chairperson and Presbytery Minister
Presbytery of North Queensland
Loving God, in the midst of what nature brings us, we thank you for the deep wells of community life; we pray that people will be kept safe; that property damage be minimal, that we might support and help one another through these challenging days.
Be with the people of Townsville and district we pray.
Rev David Baker
Moderator, Synod of Queensland