John Williams, Canberra Region Presbytery Co-Chairperson, visited Tathra last weekend (25th March).
Tathra Uniting Church was not impacted by fire but in one picture you can see a spot fire came within a metre of the fence. The church received lots of donated bedding, clothing and emergency items which folk stored, sorted and distributed. The photos show a notice on the front window and clothing and bedding laid out in the church.
Practical Support options
The best support apart from prayer is financial. Please do not send goods.
The Tathra church became the local pre-school and hosted local play groups whose venues had been lost in the fire. Only one church family had a home seriously damaged and the congregation members have been therefore free to work across the community giving help to clean up and offer accommodation.
Rev David Russell, minister with Merimbula Congregation, is one of our authorised Disaster Relief Chaplains. He has been called in to work with the various agencies that have responsibility for immediate response to the tragedy.
Dan Riethmuller and other members of Bega-Tathra Congregations have also been active in providing support to members and others who have been affected, either directly or peripherally.
The UCA has the role (within the state disaster welfare arrangements) of coordinating disaster recovery chaplaincy through the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN). This is an ecumenical network which draws on ministers or chaplains across a range of denominations and faiths. We work as one of five Community Partners (UCA/DRCN, Red Cross, Anglicare, ADRA and Salvation Army) each with their own tasks. Family and Community Services is responsible for running evacuation centres under NSW Disaster Welfare Services (DWS) – and we also are directed by DWS.
Over time other UCA Chaplains will make their way to Tathra to offer their support, particularly in the later phases of recovery. For further information about the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network go to www.nswdrcn.org.au