Special Bishop Barbara's Bulletin Regarding BC Forest Fires
July 13, 2017
A Call to Prayer and Action for our Friends and Neighbours in the Central Interior!
I know that many have already been praying for our friends and neighbour throughout the Central Interior during this devastating time of wildfires. Many of us have family and friends who have had to flee their homes and communities in the last few days and are just now learning that many will be out of their homes for even more days. Like you, I have been following the news and using social media to follow the whereabouts of the family of God within the Central Interior. Our clergy and lay leaders have been doing outstanding ministry as they respond to the displacement of people, and they have also been keeping us informed at the Territory Office. All the residents of the Territory and beyond need our help now during this terrifying time!
What can we do? A Call to Prayer!
I invite you to set time aside to pray for the residents of our communities and for those who are working to control and put out the fires and protect the effected cities. Gather with your friends to pray or organize a special time of prayer in your parish churches.
Please be in touch with those who have family living and working in the area and assure them of our support and friendship. We are here to help. Of special concern are the many volunteer fire fighters and emergency response people many of them who worship with us and who have been doing extraordinary duties since Friday to care for our communities.
I ask that you be mindful of those in our communities who have in the past experienced wildfires and the loss of homes. The images that we see on TV and the smell of smoke in the air are trigging memories for some within our parish communities.Please gather them in and ensure we remember those who will have a difficult time.
People around the world are praying for us. I am aware that the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer has a special call for prayer out amongst they network. Our partner diocese of Montreal has assured us of their prayerful support and many more dioceses I know have been holding us in pray as well.
How can the Territory office assist you? Call for Help!
We have had many calls from the wider church offering assistance to us. I am asking that funds be directed to the Territory Office marked Fire Fund. We will make these funds available to the parishes to provide direct relief to those evacuated or displaced by the heavy smoke. If you plan a special meal for folks, hear of specific needs, or in whatever other way you find you need to assist people, we have funds to help you. As needs are revealed in the coming days, we will adjust and respond based on the needs that are presented to us.
The PWRDF human response officer has been in touch with me and we will put a plan together to receive their assistance as well.
We are aware some treasurers are concerned with meeting payroll and paying bills. If this is a hardship, please be in touch with us as we have a plan to help. Please reassure those of your staff who have been evacuated that we will continue payroll for them. A request has gone in to our insurance company to clarify our "business" interruption insurance.
One of the difficulties we are all facing is the internet which has been down or very inconsistent for all of us since Friday. Power is off in many locations and is making it hard to carry on in any sense of normality. If you think we can help from Kamloops or Prince George please be in touch with the Territory Office, we have volunteer who may be able to help.
We will do our best to keep the lines of communication open here at the office and respond to needs as quickly as they come to us.
If no one is in the office Friday - Tuesday, please email the Bishop at [email protected], or call 250-819-2821.
Yesterday, at the prayer vigil at St Paul's two song that we sang have kept me reassured of God's never failing presence with us in the midst of these difficult times for us:
Like a Rock, God is under our Feet.
Like the starry night sky God is over our head.
Like the sun on the horizon God is ever before.
Like the river runs to ocean, our home is in God evermore. (More Voices 92)
And a song that has become prayer for me.
O healing river, send down your waters
Send down your waters, upon the land.Â (CP 578)
It may seem that we are alone at the moment but we have many who are reaching out to us in prayer, in concrete offers of help and in care for us. And we know that our home is in God evermore!
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