06 January 2020
The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference have written to Dr Dierdre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia, concerning the wild fires that continue to burn across the country.
Dear Dr Palmer,
We have been deeply saddened to hear of the severity and extent of fires that are destroying so much of your beautiful country, with loss of life, property and much of the rich wildlife for which Australia is renowned. We know that you have little prospect of things improving until the rains come and we want to assure you of our love and prayers as you live through the challenges of the next weeks.
Across the world we are waking up to our shared responsibility for Creation and the delicate balance of the environment. Whilst we hold you in prayer, we also acknowledge, with you the active leadership we all need to call our societies to repent and live differently. The young people of the Methodist Church in Britain are a prophetic voice to us and our next Youth President will take up the green agenda as her manifesto during her Presidential year 2020-21. We know the young people of the Uniting Church are also a voice for change and we must follow their lead in radical and urgent action. We know that you called for such action in your Christmas message.
We are also aware that across the globe climate change is putting many vulnerable communities more at risk. We know that this is particularly the case for the island communities of the South Pacific and this leads to increased refugee migration. Across Europe we are also concerned for the plight of displaced people and are often needing to challenge a hostile environment at home. We pray that we can all offer a voice of acceptance and hospitality and witness the love of God to strangers. We know this isn’t always easy, especially when we all have our own challenges to face.
Although there are many miles between us, we want to assure you of the closeness of our love and solidarity. We pray that you will know the love of God in Christ Jesus from which nothing in all Creation can separate us.
The Revd Dr Barbara Glasson President of the Methodist Conference 2019/2020
Professor Clive Marsh Vice-President of the Methodist Conference 2019/2020
Here are some extracts from Dr Palmer’s response to the President and Vice-President’s letter.
“The community response from across Australia and from our global partners has been remarkable. We have witnessed great acts of courage, compassion and sacrificial service. Uniting Church congregations, chaplains and individual members are involved on the ground in responding in pastoral support and practical acts of hospitality.
We are strengthened by our solidarity in community, our love and compassion toward our neighbours, and our resolve to walk alongside one another in our grief, and in our efforts to rebuild and bring restoration to people’s lives.
We join with you in prayer and passionate commitment to work together to address our climate crisis, to work for climate justice, for the healing and renewal of our Earth, and a world in which all people and all creatures can flourish.”
A Prayer for Australia
Creator God, who has made the earth in intricate beauty and balance
We pray for the people of Australia, of all heritage and traditions, who are fighting the widespread fires that are threatening people, property and wildlife in that beautiful land
We are mindful of those who are directly threatened as the flames run out of control
And of those who cannot breathe or move because of the smoke and fumes
And those who are worried for relatives and friends
We thank you for the tireless efforts of those who are helping and for the kindness of neighbours, chaplains and friends
Stir us, to action so that we can change the way we live in relation to the planet
Bring us to our senses and to a new reverence for all you have made
Merciful God, hear our prayers