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Resources for times of Disaster and Trauma

Bushfires, floods and other disasters effect our towns and communities.  These are unprecedented events that effect us deeply. Our responses can help other people, offering hope and peace after tragic events.  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.

New in 2021: Planning Ritual Post-Trauma is a resource to assist communities to plan a community ritual response following significant disaster or trauma.  Created by Andy Calder and other ministry colleagues, the resource is designed to include civic, inter-faith and other community leaders, depending on the context of the ritual event being planned. It is available as a full resource and a supplementary checklist.

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.

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.

Planning Ritual Post-Trauma is a resource to assist communities to plan a community ritual response following significant disaster or trauma.  Created by Andy Calder and other ministry colleagues, the resource is designed to include civic, inter-faith and other community leaders, depending on the context of the ritual event being planned. It is available as a full resource and a supplementary checklist.

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.

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) 9116 1475.

If your church building has been damaged by fires, contact Risk and Insurance on (03) 9116 1903.

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