In light of the recent fiery catastrophes that have ravaged Australia, the CCA General Secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara has sent the following pastoral letter to the National Council of Churches in Australia and the CCA Member Churches in Australia. The full text of the letter can be found below.
CCA Member Churches in Australia
National Council of Churches in Australia
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is with great anxiety and grief that the world received the news and images of the catastrophic bushfires that continue to ravage colossal loss in Australia during the last few months. It was indeed painful to know about the massive destruction in which at least 25 people have died and more than 10 million hectares of bush, forest, and parks have been burned, more than 2000 homes have been destroyed, and more than one billion animals killed as the fires have worsened.
As the people of Australia are struggling to be relieved from the horror and trauma of their ordeal, the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) expresses deep sympathy and mourns the loss of precious lives, the displacement of families, and the widespread damage to infrastructure in affected areas.
The CCA and several of its member churches have been praying for all Australian people, especially for those who have suffered, who mourn, and for those who are fearful and anxious of their lives and security. We pray that all people who have been affected by the fires be comforted, and all those who have voluntarily stepped up and joined relief operation services continue to be encouraged.
We are thankful to God for the extraordinary kindness shown by the Australian churches and other member churches of the National Council of Churches in Australia, who have been tirelessly and unceasingly working to help mitigate the devastation. We hear stories of generous support and hospitality that has been shown to both humans and wildlife. The resolve and outpouring of love from Australian churches in the form of personal and pastoral care, especially in guiding families and communities in hope are greatly appreciated by the world’s ecclesiastical and ecumenical communities.
At this time of the traumatic experiences of the Australian people, we join the churches in Australia and pray with them:
“All things look to you, O Lord, to give them their food in due season. Look in Mercy on your people, and hear our prayer for those whose lives and possessions are threatened by fire. Give protection and wisdom to fire fighters and other emergency service personnel. Encourage our generosity to those who suffer loss. In your mercy restore creation and heal our land. So guide and bless your people, that we may enjoy the fruits of the earth and give you thanks with grateful hearts, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (prepared by the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne)
The CCA also prays for the necessary guidance and wisdom for the rehabilitation efforts in the days ahead.
May you find solace and reassurance in the promise of our Lord who strengthens us, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Yours along the journey,
Mathews George Chunakara,
General Secretary, CCA
For the full text of the letter, please click here.