News by emailDonate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Bishop shares heartbreaking photo of church destroyed by Australia wild fires - Banner image
Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn
Bishop shares heartbreaking photo of church destroyed by Australia wild fires - Mobile banner image
Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn
World News

Bishop shares heartbreaking photo of church destroyed by Australia wild fires

by Marcus Jones

The extent of the devastation caused by the Australia wild fires has been revealed through an image shared by a local bishop.

One of the largest evacuations in Australia's history is under way ahead of hot weather and strong winds that are forecast to worsen devastating wildfires raging across the country.

More than 200 fires were burning and warnings of extreme danger to come on Saturday prompted mass evacuations.

Traffic was gridlocked as people fled and firefighters escorted convoys of evacuees as fires threatened to close roads.

Navy ships were called in to pluck hundreds of people stranded on beaches.

About five million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land have burned, at least 19 people have been killed, and more than 1,400 homes have been destroyed.

This week, at least 448 homes have been destroyed on the New South Wales southern coast and dozens were burned in Victoria.

Ten deaths have been confirmed in the two states this week, and Victoria authorities also say 28 people are missing.

Fires are also burning in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.

Writing a pastoral letter, Rt Rev Mark Short, Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn praised parishioners for striving to care for their neighbours and churches which have opened as places of refuge.

"Please join with me in thanking God for every act of courage and kindness," he said.

The bishop pointed to the words of the prophet Joel to describe how he was feeling.

"To you, O LORD, I cry. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flames have burned all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals cry to you because the watercourses are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness (Joel 1: 19-20)."

"The words of God's prophet express the cries of our hearts. We grieve with and for those who have lost property and loved ones. We groan with and for creation as it waits for rescue. We long for quenching rain and relief."

Calling on parishioners to pray but also donate to the relief efforts, he said: "The photo included with this letter shows what is left of St Saviour's Church Quaama in the Parish of Cobargo. 

"You will notice the bell is still standing. I look forward to the time when it once again summons a community to grieve and to find comfort and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ."

(Additional reporting from Press Association)

Lord of all days and years, and time and eternity, You made this land and have blessed
us with its riches and beauty.
You are a refuge to all who seek your shelter, our strong defence in trial and tribulation.
Send rain we pray to extinguish flames and heal our land.
Mercifully protect life and property.
Give help and hope to our neighbours assailed by fire.
Comfort and provide for those who grieve.
Uphold those who suffer loss,
Give peace and hope to those bewildered and broken-hearted.
We thank you for men and women of courage and selflessness.
We thank you for brave communities of care and support, We thank you for those who
share your comfort and hope, We thank you for those at a distance giving and praying.
Lord, you sent your Son so that we would know your power to save, your presence with
your people in this world of turmoil, and your promise to renew the whole creation. Turn
our hearts to you, that we may have faith for this day and hope for eternity.
We ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
 

A prayer written by the Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral Very Rev Kanishka Raffel

27

people are praying for this news article

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £5 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £5 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate