From Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister - Wellbeing
Many of us will have family and friends in areas of NSW that have recently suffered from flooding. The amount of rain that fell, the rise of the rivers and spread of water over traditional floodplain areas (where thousands of people have built houses) has led to immense damage, community distress, and deep personal grief.
Elizabeth and I spent six years living on the mid north coast, the area which received the first impact of the flooding that took place last week—before the storm front moved south and encompassed greater Sydney, and the Hawkesbury-Nepean flood plains, later in the week. We experienced two “flooding events” while we were living at Wauchope—the main highway was cut and access to the town was not possible for some time on each occasion.
Fortunately for us, our house was on the higher part of town (next to the town’s hospital), so we were spared any flood damage. But we knew many people in the lower areas and in outlying farms who were affected.
We also knew people from Congregations up and down the mid north coast who were affected then—and who were right in the middle of the widespread flooding that occurred just recently, at Taree and Coopernook in the Manning Valley, at Kempsey beside the Macleay River, in the low lying areas of Nambucca Heads and Stuart’s Point, and elsewhere.
One friend wrote and asked us: “can you mention Coopernook and the Mid North Coast in your prayers, for the emergency services, volunteers, heroes, evacuees and all that goes with such a disaster. I know you would already be doing prayers for those affected, however I just wanted to reach out. We are really leaning heavily on our faith with this crisis.”
I am passing this request on to folks throughout the Presbytery. Many of you will remember the encouragement that you and others received, during the summer of 2019–2020, as the bushfires wreaked havoc across our Presbytery. (And before us, the mid north coast had experienced bad fires in late 2019.) Being able to stand in solidarity with friends and fellow believers across the distances of our country, is one act of compassion in which we can all participate.
I invite you to join in prayer, perhaps using the words offered by the Rev. Ann Hosking Perrin, minister in the Hawkesbury Mission Zone in western Sydney.
Ever present God,
You are with us in this hour of need.
You hold all those affected by the floods in your love.
We pray for those who have evacuated.
For those who havelost their homes and whose homes are under threat.
Encourage us to be a people who respond to those in need in God’s name with compassion and practice care. Help us to help them.
We pray for our most vulnerable often living on riverbanks and for all those who are offering them shelter and care.
We pray for those whose livelihoods have been affected. Shops inundate, livestock lost and those caring for our native animals.
We give thanks for those running the emergency evacuation centres, the Red Cross , Anglican and disaster chaplains. Be with them, Support them as they work with the distressed, and those facing uncertainty about what this flood means for them.
We know that you are One who suffers with us and offers comfort and guidance by being present with your people. We pray for you wisdom moving forward.
We know your mercy and that you will hear our prayer,
In Jesus name. Amen
And should you want to think more about the flooding in the light of our faith, you may wish to read this blog post:
Rev Dr John Squires
Canberra Region Presbytery
Uniting Church in Australia
0408 024 642
blogs on ‘An Informed Faith’