Perth Hills fire response: Small congregations act big

On Sunday morning 12 January 2014, a devastating bushfire sparked by a private power pole in Parkerville resulted in the destruction of 57 homes. Many properties were damaged and 386 hectares burnt   in the affected areas of Parkerville, Stoneville and Mount Helena. A meeting was arranged with the Uniting Church Emergency Response Team and members of the three local hills Uniting Churches,  Mundaring, Glen Forrest and Gidgegannup. Representatives from these congregations formed The UCA Hills Fire Disaster Committee, supported by Synod/Presbytery representative, Rev Gordon  Scantlebury, and Metro East regional pastor, Rev Alan Stubbs.

Contact was made with the local schools and the chaplains to let them know of the assistance that we could give. Other local churches, the Mundaring Shire Towards Recovery Centre and, of course, word of  mouth in the community gave us many starting contacts. Vouchers were distributed directly by committee members and through the school chaplains. Cash gifts have also been given and we were  especially keen to help children continue with their extra-curricular activities, some requiring sporting fees and uniform expenses.

As well as financial assistance there  have been many gifts made. The Quilters Guild donated handmade quilts for distribution through us. The Rotary Club of Mundaring made a donation of $1,000 to our   fund as they wanted the money to be given directly to those affected. Local businesses have also donated amounts collected from ‘counter donations’. As those affected by the fire start returning to their  properties we feel that the need for assistance and support will be required. This we will continue to do.

At the start of this outreach we felt overwhelmed as to how to begin. Start we did and we’ve had huge satisfaction in being able to, in various ways, show that as Christ’s followers we really care. The  congregations of Mundaring, Glen Forrest and Gidgegannup have small memberships, but we feel that we have been able to do something quite large.

Donate to the Uniting Church’s Disaster Relief Fund at any Westpac branch

BSB 036 001 Account 921789,

Account Name Uniting Church Investment Fund (please email bsu@wa.uca.org.au with details)

or by sending cheques or money orders to The Disaster Relief Fund Uniting Church in Australia GPO Box M952 Perth WA 6843

Attention: Gillian Dudley (Finance Department) For further information,  please visit www.unitingchurchwa.org.au/disaster-response.

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