The cyclone made landfall on Tuesday, causing destructive rain, flooding and winds exceeding 250 kilometres per hour. A number of communities in North Queensland have been cut off from communication and more than 63,000 homes are without power. There are also preliminary reports of serious structural damage in a number of coastal towns.
Mr Baker issued the following pastoral statement:
Nature has a way of reminding us that we are not at the centre of things and that the environments we physically construct can’t necessarily withstand nature.
Yet today, tomorrow and the next day, the wider Queensland community will support those affected by Cyclone Debbie and begin to restore what this cyclone has destroyed.
The Uniting Church in Queensland, through UnitingCare, will be deploying disaster relief workers throughout the affected areas. They will offer pastoral support and organise practical support to the communities affected.
The Church will also be supporting congregational ministers and our church communities now and in the weeks to come.
If you would like to support the community recovery efforts of local congregations and presbyteries, please give online to the Uniting Church Foundation’s Cyclone Debbie Relief Appeal by donating here.
All monies received will be used to enable community recovery and build community resilience in impacted areas. You may also give by cheque payable to the Uniting Church Foundation Queensland or by credit card over the phone (07) 3377 9777. This is a mission project in the Queensland Synod’s People in Crisis mission area.
We pray for those who were stuck in the midst of this cyclone; for their physical safety and emotional wellbeing.
We give thanks for those who have worked through this crisis to support affected communities.
We give thanks for the people and resources that will help these communities get back on their feet.
In the midst of these trying times may we be reminded that God stands with us, that together we can find the spiritual, organisational and physical resources to re-establish healthy and flourishing communities.
Rev Garry Hardingham, North Queensland Presbytery minister, offered the following prayer for people affected by the cyclone:
O Lord of Earth and Heaven,
You have promised to be with us
In the joys and perils of life.
For you control the millpond and the stormy seas.
In your Son, Jesus, we find comfort in the midst of uncertainty,
Hope in the midst of vulnerability,
And strength in the face of the storm.
Give shelter to your creation
And endurance in the aftermath
May a word of Jesus
still the storm and calm the seas of our hearts
For you alone, God, are all good, all life and all love for us.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Image: NASA Space Goddard Space Flight/Flickr