Gagebrook fights back after fire

gagebrook recovery

From left: volunteer Rick Riestell, Uniting Emergency Relief Manager Charlie Ryan, pastor Marion Bisset and Rev David Parker.

The Bridgewater-Gagebrook Uniting Church centre has bounced back quickly from the devastating impact of the recent deliberately-lit fire.

Less than a week after the 4 October fire caused more than $500,000 damage, community services arm Uniting’s local emergency relief operations, congregational mission work and a food relief service were re-established from a campervan near the site for three mornings a week.

Sunday worship is currently being held in office space nearby donated by local State MP David Llewellyn.

Church council chair David Parker said it was important to restore services as quickly as possible given the great need within the local community.

“We are working hard to be present within the community. We are touched by the response of the local community and they will be our focus in the weeks ahead,” he said.

“It has been good to actually do, rather than just react.”

Mr Parker said it was helpful for the congregation to meet as soon as possible after the fire for worship and the community deeply appreciated the expressions of support and prayers from many people throughout the synod over the last fortnight.

“People were able to share their distress which I believe has been very beneficial,” he said.

“We are very humbled by the outpouring of support and prayers.’’

The community is working on plans to rebuild on the site and, at present, is only able to accept support of cash donations rather than goods, which it had no capacity to store.

“We will take a little time to have a comprehensive plan in place as to a way forward,” Mr Parker said.

“However, when we get a better picture of what is most appropriate, we will propose an opportunity for people to share in the rebuilding process of this much needed mission.’’

Investigations into the fire, which police believe was arson, are ongoing.

People or congregations who would like to make a contribution to the work of the congregation, or to the op shop when it re-opens, can mail cheques to P.O. Box 174 Bridgewater 7030.

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