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Bushfires pastoral and worship resources

The unprecedented fires burning across Victoria and other states have left a trail of devastation. As the church continues to respond to the crisis affecting many communities, this page offers helpful resources for individuals, families, worship leaders, ministerial agents and congregations.

The resources include liturgies and prayers for use in corporate worship, sermon preparation and pastoral care.

To read more on what the church is doing to help communities affected by the fires, click here.

To download Moderator Rev Denise Liersch’s pastoral letter, click here.

Ministry resources

Andy Calder, our Synod’s Disability Inclusion Advocate, has written a theological reflection on trauma asking the question, “Where is God in this?”.

Rob McFarlane, from the synod of NSW/ACT, offers reflections on climate change as transitional ministry. This is a helpful page with links for church leaders seeking wisdom on ministry and mission with the wider community.

Worship resources

The following links contain a range of bushfire-related prayers, liturgies and theological reflections that may assist worship leaders and preachers in planning worship.

There are two additional resources included in PDF files below. Carrying Rainbows of Hope, edited by Philip Liebelt and an eight-day devotional written by Jon Humphries titled, Reflections of Hope and Encouragement in a Time of Disaster and Suffering.

Assembly has also published a list of worship resources, which you can find here.

Uniting Earth has a collection of bushfire prayers and liturgies.

Pilgrim Uniting Church, South Australia, has many prayer resources related to bushfires.

 

Dealing with trauma

The following resources are to support pastoral carers and leaders assisting people dealing with bushfire-related trauma. Included are resources aimed specifically at supporting children and families.

This Way Up offers a comprehensive guide to understanding and journeying through trauma. It includes helpful information assisting children.

The Gungahlin Uniting Church has assembled a list of resources for families, community leaders and carers to help children process bushfire and disasters.

Emerging Minds has produced a Community Trauma Toolkit to support children and families before, during and after traumatic events.

Better Health Victoria offers a general guide to dealing with traumatic events.

When ministering with fire-related trauma, pastoral carers may find it helpful to understand research on ambiguous loss. This is defined as suffering loss that is uncertain, not able to be tied up neatly, ongoing, unclear and undecided.

The state government has a site dedicated to bushfire education. You can find it here.

 

Books

Church leaders may find it helpful to be reminded of what the Uniting Church in Australia has already stated on creation, earth and climate change and a list of resolutions from past Assembly, Synod, congregations and agencies.

Two books that will assist include For a World Reconciled (rrp $35), and An Informed Faith: The Uniting Church at the Beginning of the 21st Century (rrp $40). Refer to the chapter titled, “Ecological Engagement” by Rev Dr Jason John and Dr. Miriam Pepper.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (rrp $35) is a beautifully illustrated picture book that offers hope in uncertain times.

Rituals for Life, Love & Loss, by Dorothy McRae-McMahon (rrp $25), has a chapter called After The Fires which offers an intergenerational liturgy and ritual suitable for small and large worship gatherings. It also offers prayers, symbols and a service order that is inclusive of young people.

 

Key contacts

If you are in an emergency situation, dial 000.

If you are a ministerial agent and require assistance, contact Synod associate general secretary Isabel Thomas Dobson on 03 9251 5208.

If your church building has been damaged by fires, contact Risk and Insurance on 03 9251 5924.

 

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