My brothers and sisters in Christ,
In the aftermath of Cyclone Larry, I feel it is important to communicate with our people regarding the situation in North Queensland.
You will be well aware through extensive media reports that the cyclone has caused widespread devastation of property and crops.
I have this morning spoken with Glen Loutitt, our minister in Innisfail, and with Bruce Cornish, the Presbytery Minister in North Queensland. I am pleased to be able to tell you that all our ministry families in the affected area are safe and well and there has been no major damage to UCA churches or manses. Such damage as has occurred is covered by insurance.
Glen has been active in providing personal support and pastoral care both to local people and emergency service workers. Bruce Cornish and other UCA volunteers have been in the area for several days offering support wherever they can.
The congregation at Innisfail, along with all our congregations in the area, will gather for worship on Sunday as they always do.
We have received a number of enquiries about how donations might be made to assist those in need. There are two ways in which this can be done.
Firstly, gifts can be forwarded by cheque addressed to “Uniting Church NQ Cyclone Appeal, GPO Box 674, Brisbane QLD 4001”, or through your congregation’s monthly remittance to the Synod Office. Please note that gifts to the Uniting Church NQ Cyclone Appeal are not eligible for tax deductible status.
Secondly, contributions can also be made through the community relief fund set up by the State Government. Donations can be made at any Commonwealth Bank branch Bank and gifts over $2 are tax deductible. Cheques can be made out to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal Fund, account number 064-013-1000-6800. There is also an appeal hotline (1800 150 411) through which donations can be made by credit card.
Our hearts go out to those families whose homes have been damaged and whose livelihoods are now seriously threatened. Let us pray for them all, and for those who are working around the clock to provide the urgent support that is now required.
Could you please ensure that this message is shared with our congregations this Sunday.
Grace and peace
Rev Dr David Pitman