Archbishop Philip Freier will visit today, where possible, some of the areas affected in the weekend’s firestorm.
In an “ad clerum” (correspondence directed to the clergy of the Diocese) Dr Freier has written of his sense of disbelief “about the enormity of the devastation in Victoria”.
“We think of those who have lost their lives, those under care in hospitals, of those waiting for news of family and friends, those now homeless and the many still threatened by fire. The loss of property, while secondary, is beyond imagination, with homes, businesses and even whole townships destroyed,” he said.
“Our hearts go out to all affected, now and in the coming weeks, and we pray that in the midst of the blackness and grief, God’s healing presence will sustain those caught up in the fire fighting, the recovery, the identification, all emergency services personnel – from front line fire fighters to the police, paramedics, ambulance and medical staff, volunteers, aid agencies and chaplains - all of whom give so courageously and self sacrificially.”
Their bravery and compassion were a great example to us all, he said.
“We acknowledge the community spirit which is binding and supporting the thousands whose lives have been changed by the events of these last days.”
Dr Freier said that Anglican clergy, parishes and agencies were being mobilised across the state, and he reported with gratitude that Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen planned to initiate an appeal “to support the ministry that will be needed in these devastated areas for the weeks and months ahead”.
“Today I intend to visit some of the communities affected by the fires,” Dr Freier said. “It is still unclear to me what access will be possible and I am very conscious of the continuing fire fighting and emergency work that is taking place.”
“I pray for all of you as you minister to the diocese and the community at large, all confronted by the immensity of this tragedy. Never forget that God is with us in our grief, our pain and our despair.”
Item from: Anglican Media Melbourne – Diocese of Melbourne