Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wind, Rain, Trees, Floods, Lack of Electricity!!

Our electricity has just come back on today!!
120km hour winds, lashing rain, flooding, exploding power lines, houses washed away, lives lost!!
It's been a dreadful week in parts of the Hunter... with much mop up and recovery going on...

From a Uniting Church perspective we have a national and regional framework for 'Disaster Recovery Response' and Chaplaincy will be provided in effected areas BUT there are things any local community of faith can do to help out!!

1. Does your church building or a team of people have electricity?
Put up a sign, organise hospitality [soup and bread or bbq] and offer recharging of electrical devices
Let 1233 Newcastle know...
If another community organisation has already jumped in, then send volunteers to help
In any other plans, seek collaborators from across your community!!
2. The immediate need/opportunity to offer children, youth or family activity days in lieu of school has passed but consider that option for the future... what about pastoral care and connections on Sunday with gathered worship communities...
Chaplaincy will be organised but other relationships can be fostered, even by a carload of visitors who join worship in an effected area, buy lunch locally there and see what needs doing alongside SES etc...
3. Does your church have showers? For this without water hot or cold...
4. Is your church open for prayer offering a creative focus?

Worship/Response Ideas Miscellaneous
a. Prayers with space for silent reflection or simple symbolic actions are helpful at times like these.
Examples might include:
- Lord's Prayer + silence 
- Candles and water may or may not be useful symbols, something like a bucket of gum leaves which can have words or symbols of your prayer written on with black markers could then be left out on a cloth on the table with instrumental or other musical soundtrack
- Contemporary songs like "Below My Feet" Mumford & Sons or "Rest Your Head on My Shoulder" Seeker Lover Keeper offer the right mood
b. Images can overwhelm but can also add reality to a reflection, 
sometimes one poignant image is sufficient
c. There are some further useful worship resources here and some won’t be…
And our own UCA resources general and specific here
d. Take the time to learn the names of people lost or injured so your prayers have purpose and know there’s always someone present who ‘knows someone who knew that person’
e. For settings where Hymns are standard, Rev Peter Oliver offers these creative words for 'How Great Thou Art'

O Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all
The frailty of this earth
We see the stars,
We hear the mighty thunder,
We feel such fear
When nature’s done its worst.

When through our towns
And flooded plains we wander
Some have survived on rooves or in the trees;
When we look down
On what was once such grandeur
And hear the news
Of loved ones’ hopes and pleas;

Then cries my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
“Will this grief pass?
Will this grief pass?”
Then cries my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
“Will this grief pass?
Will this grief pass?”

Pray Christ shall come,
To hearts in devastation.
Help them find homes,
Help mend their broken heart!
Help us to flow Jesus' compassion to this nation.
Help us proclaim
“We pray this grief will pass.”

Then cries our soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
“Help this grief pass.
Help this grief pass.”
Then cries our soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
“Help this grief pass.
Help this grief pass.”

When time has passed, floods of despair are over
and there's a sense this suffering won't be long.
When hope's restored,
When sadness heals with mem’ries
In hea’en, on earth, we will proclaim this song
“Then sings my soul my Saviour God, to Thee
‘How great thou art!
How great thou art!’ ”

There you go, a start, when in fact there are heaps of things that can be done!!

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