The United Church of Canada is horrified, as is the rest of the world, by the scenes of utter destruction from Australia. As we witness what is happening in God’s creation, we want to respond in love and compassion to support our sisters and brothers in this moment of crisis.
Our sister church the Uniting Church in Australia is mustering its resources to provide spiritual and emotional support, as well as address the immediate and urgent needs of those displaced by the fires—many of whom will not have a home to return to. Reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts will continue long term.
We have been in touch with our sister church offering our prayers, love, and support, as well as inviting them to share with us how we, The United Church of Canada, can best help them in the long journey of crisis response and recovery. While it is difficult to wait for a response, the Uniting Church in Australia is best placed to know what will be needed.
Often churches are called to play an important role in the recovery process, especially as international attention wanes. While we wait for news from our sister church, we ask the people of the United Church to continue to hold in love and prayer the Uniting Church in Australia, all Australians, and the first responders from around the globe who have come together to bring these wildfires under control. We will accompany our sister church in the long journey forward, even as the world’s attention inevitably shifts.
In this world of changed and changing climate, God,
we ask that you would help us
to help those who are in immediate danger;
may we use what we have to help and to heal—
then call us to repent of all the ways
we continue to make this world
a place of death, rather than life.
—from a prayer in response to the Australia wildfires by the Right Rev. Richard Bott
You may wish to reflect on this Prayer for the People, Animals, and Land of Australia by Moderator Richard Bott and this piece by Helen Reed, Presiding Officer, Chinook Winds Regional Council.