7 January, 2020

Bushfire Recovery Appeal

Dear friends,

It has been quite a heartbreaking start to the New Year as millions of Australians still try to comprehend the devastation of the bushfires which have affected every state in Australia. For many of us, there is a sense of helplessness watching on as weeks turn into months of fires continuing to burn and communities being devastated. We are deeply grieved, as faith communities, to see such a tragedy unfold in our nation. Our compassion and empathy for those who have lost moves us to respond.

We acknowledge that some of our Churches of Christ communities in the Adelaide Hills and South East have been directly impacted by emergency level fires. We have had no report of losses or need for assistance in these areas. However, we are deeply saddened by the loss of life and property in the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island fires and our hearts continue to break for these communities as they recover and rebuild.

Members of our churches have been involved as volunteer firefighters with the CFS responding to fires in the Adelaide Hills, South East, Kangaroo Island and interstate. We give thanks for them and the thousands of others who continue to fight fires around the country.

As the fires continue to unfold in Victoria and NSW with the impact still being realised, we pray for the afflicted to be comforted, for the light of hope to break in, and for the goodness and generosity of God to work through the availability and skills of those who are able to assist.

In November last year our office began to receive requests from churches seeking advice on how they could partner with, and help, Churches of Christ communities affected by fires in the Eastern States. At that stage, it was unclear how much communities had been impacted or what assistance may be required. We can now confirm there is a need for assistance in multiple areas where Churches of Christ is present including GMP indigenous ministry activities. The most effective way for us to provide relief to these communities is through a coordinated national recovery fund.

Churches of Christ national disaster relief is now being delivered through Global Mission Partners Extend. GMP Extend provides relief, welfare and support to communities in need. It is the only national relief agency operating on behalf of Churches of Christ in Australia. GMP Extend has just launched a Bushfire Recovery Appeal. Funds from this appeal will be directed though agencies and churches with the capacity to respond to local needs. Churches of Christ Agencies and local churches will be prioritised.

Donations in excess of $2 can be tax-deductible and are to be given via GMP Extend either by:

1. Bank transfer to Global Mission Partners Extend

BSB: 063 130 Account No: 1047 0548 Customer reference line ‘Bushfire Appeal’ - please also complete the online donation form that can be downloaded on - [https://www.extend.org.au/our-projects/bushfire-recovery-appeal](https://www.extend.org.au/our-projects/bushfire-recovery-appeal )

2. Or calling the GMP office on 1800 467 222.

At the moment the GMP Extend Credit Card facility is still being finalised and will be made available as soon as possible.

We encourage Churches of Christ congregations in SA to dedicate time in worship this Sunday to acknowledge and pray for all affected communities and to consider contribution to the GMP Extend Bushfire Recovery Appeal.

Thank you for your ongoing prayer, compassion and support.


Mark Riessen

Acting State Minister

Churches of Christ SA & NT