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St Saviour’s Church Quaama banner.png
Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn
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)

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