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
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.
Acting State Minister
Churches of Christ SA & NT
There are lots of extra challenges on families at the moment, as many of us are finding our homes being our places of work as well as classrooms if we have school-age children.
With most of our face-to-face church programs having stopped, there is a great opportunity for us to support and equip families in doing faith-formation at home.
We know there are lots of resources bouncing around the internet currently, and we’d love to hear what you’re using, and how its working. We also want to share resources with you regularly that we believe can support families.
One such resource is called [Family.fit.](https://family.fit/) It's been developed by a collaboration of global movements with a desire to see families around the world flourish. Each session can be done in 40 minutes, either inside, at a park, or in a backyard, and has a specific theme. It involves 7 elements, including simple physical challenges and exercises, a short talk and discussion, digging into a bible passage and reflecting on it, and praying together. It's designed for people of all ages.
New content is being written and uploaded weekly, and its all free. You can access the site with the link provided and download & print the PDF files as well. You can also view all videos from the site itself, or Youtube.
We’d love to hear any feedback you receive about it, as well as any other online resources you're finding valuable with at-home discipleship.
Included in this edition:
Articles by Peter Barney
News from GMP and CareWorks
A resource for families
Please be advised that the physical office for state operations is closed until further notice. However, the state team is still working and resourcing our churches. Our listed phone number will redirect you to our mobile reception and our staff are still answering emails.
Our church buildings are currently closed but our church communities are connecting with each other in creative ways during this time of physical distancing from one another. Please refer to our list of churches and connect with them through the listed contact information if you would like to find out more about online worship services or pastoral support they are offering during this difficult time.
We aim keep you updated on relevant information through our latest news from time to time.