Dear sisters and brothers,
The ongoing drought is currently affecting 65% of the land area of Queensland and now, sadly, we are witnessing devasting fires in some parts. Many are suffering the significant hardship and strain involved in enduring prolonged drought, let alone the trauma of bushfire.
Faith in Christ and drawing on collective resources to face present difficulties help enormously. Generous donations to the Archbishop’s Emergency Relief Appeal have enabled some relief to be provided, distributed through clergy and lay leaders in parishes most affected. This fund has assisted drought-stricken families, as well those affected by the floods in North Queensland earlier in the year.
I express my deep appreciation and thanks to the many people and parishes who have contributed to the Archbishop’s Emergency Relief Appeal. Since August 2018 when I first renewed calls for donations, approximately $144,301 has been generously given and $92,000 distributed. Donations have slowed in recent months and soon we will have distributed all the funds contributed.
I have responded to individual donors where possible, but in some cases have been unable to find enough identifying information to enable personal thanks. However, to all those who have donated, thank you.
Hopefully there will be some much-needed rain in drought affected areas before too long, which will do more than anything to relieve the suffering and stress that many people are enduring. Meanwhile please join with me in prayer for relief from these trying conditions and comfort and hope for people suffering its effects. You might find the following prayer suitable for personal and public use:
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 or destroyed by drought, flood and fire.
In your mercy restore your 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. Amen
I also encourage you to make use of the resources produced for the ‘Season of Creation’. Each year, from 1 September (the Global Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation) to 4 October (St Francis of Assisi Day), many Anglicans use the Season of Creation to pray and celebrate, with special focus on living in harmony with creation, being good stewards and healing the Earth.
Churches and Christians worldwide are encouraged to participate through:
- Celebrating the goodness of God’s gift of creation in worship, drawing on the Psalms and other scriptures to rejoice in the Creator’s glory;
- Reflecting on our mistreatment of creation, repenting of poor decisions we have made, and committing to better practices and habits;
- Learning more about the wildlife and ecology of our communities;
- Teaching our communities about God’s web of life, and conveying the truth that we can both provide for people and protect our planet;
- Practising nature conservation in our homes, schools, churchyards and community spaces; and
- Advocating for care of nature in our home communities and beyond.
Please also join with me in praying the Season of Creation 2019 prayer:
Creator of Life:
the Earth is full of your creatures,
and by Your wisdom you made them all.
At Your word, the Earth brought forth plants
yielding seed of every kind
and trees of every kind bearing fruit;
the waters teemed with swarms of living creatures of every kind,
and the world was filled with every kind of winged bird,
walking animal, and creatures that creep upon the ground.
Mountains, plains, rocks, and rivers shelter diverse communities,
and through the changing seasons
your Spirit renews cycles of life.
During this Season of Creation,
open our eyes to see the precious diversity that is all around us.
Enlighten our minds to appreciate the delicate balance
maintained by each creature.
Inspire us to conserve
the precious habitats that nurture this web of life.
In the name of the One who came
to proclaim good news to all creation,
Jesus Christ. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall
Archbishop of Brisbane