[Anglican Media Sydney] Anglican dioceses across NSW have united to launch an emergency appeal to raise funds for areas hit hardest by the ongoing drought.
The seven dioceses of Sydney: Canberra & Goulburn; Newcastle; Grafton; Armidale; Bathurst; and Riverina have united in an historical agreement to bring relief to regional and rural communities crippled by the worst drought in 20 years.
The appeal will be launched and administered by the Archbishop of Sydney's Appeals Unit. Funds will be collected from across the state and distributed according to guidelines established by the seven diocesan representatives.
According to Dr Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, with 98 per cent of NSW declared drought affected and 67 per cent identified as being under exceptional circumstances, this crucial appeal will enable the Anglican Church to provide relief to parts of the state that have suffered for too long.
"I have become acutely aware, through contact with my colleagues across the state, of the enormous suffering and hardship currently gripping so much of New South Wales," Dr Jensen said.
"I hear stories of whole towns and regional centres without adequate water, livestock thirsty and starving, local businesses on the verge of financial ruin, parishes unable to provide adequate ministry and children being pulled out of school because parents can no longer afford the fuel to transport their children each day.
"We must no longer allow our fellow Australians to endure this suffering alone. The Anglican Church is well placed to reach out to these communities at a grass roots level, especially as many of our regional parishes walk hand in hand with their community during this difficult time.
"It is for this reason that the seven dioceses of NSW have united to launch this appeal. With a generous response from the community, we can help ministry to continue and provide relief that will help many families through this difficult time until dams are replenished, crops regrown and lives are rebuilt,' Dr Jensen said.
The drought is predicted to break across NSW by autumn this year. However, communities are not expected to recover from the impact of the drought for at least two to three years, highlighting the importance of ongoing support for regional and rural NSW well after the rains fall.
To support the Archbishop of Sydney's Drought Appeal, please send a donation to the Archbishop's Drought Appeal, PO Box 1416, Parramatta, NSW 2124, Australia.