From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS3275 Anglicans respond to the Canberra bush fires

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Wed, 22 Jan 2003 22:52:05 -0000

ACNS 3275     |     AUSTRALIA	  |	23 JANUARY 2003

Anglicans respond to the Canberra bush fires

[Anglican Media Sydney] Bishop George Browning of the Diocese of Canberra
and Goulburn, Australia, today spoke about the devastation that was caused
by the weekend's bush fires in Canberra:

"It is certainly a catastrophe of staggering proportions. The count of homes
lost now stands at approximately 450.

"Our church people are working very hard and are a little exhausted. The
spirit of people is strong. They have been making sure that the elderly and
those who live on their own are looked after and that assistance is provided
where necessary.

"A significant number of church families have shared in the loss of home and

"I have spent most of my time visiting the evacuation centres and visiting
people who have lost their homes.

"The inner resources for restoration and rebuilding is essentially a local
street by street task. You gain the feeling that each street has become
something like a battalion at war. They are welded together in an
extraordinary manner. I am sure there will be many stories of community self

"I am utterly amazed that only four lives were lost. It is almost
incomprehensible when you see the devastation and understand the speed at
which it occurred.

"Some of our clergy were evacuated at the time, but no church property has
been lost.

"I have been talking with other Canberra church leaders about the
possibility of an ecumenical service which could be held in the open air in
or near the devastated areas of Canberra. However, this may not take place
for some time. In the meantime small local gatherings are being arranged."

Services immediately available:

Emergency relief (food, clothing, other practical support) - St John's Care,
Counselling - St John's Care counselling referral service 6248-7771 (9-2
Mental health counselling - Calwell Community Centre, 6291-4300 (9-5,
Critical incident stress management - Karen Ott, Calwell Community Centre,
Counselling and personal support for young people: Youth in the City,
Junction Youth Health Service, 6247-5567
Anything else - contact the Anglicare office, 6230-5113

Services available in the longer term:

Anglicare, Canberra & Goulburn has registered with the Act Emergency
Services Bureau indicating its availability for longer-term support during
the recovery phase. A volunteer register has been set up and interested
persons are asked to refer all offers of help to the Anglicare Offices

Individuals may also make a donation to the Anglicare Emergency Appeal.
Cheques may be sent to Anglicare Bushfire Appeal, GPO Box 1981, Canberra ACT
2601, Australia. The Bishop has asked for the prayers and support from the
Anglican Communion, pledges of which have already been quite considerable.

The ACNSlist is published by the Anglican Communion Office, London.

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