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It has been a challenging year around the Diocese and we are all now focused on how we journey through this time of the COVID-19 virus and what that might mean for each ministry unit.

Not so long ago, I was deployed in my role as an Army Chaplain (Reserve), to support those impacted by the bushfires. This included visiting and connecting with Batemans Bay, Bega and Batlow areas.

I was reminded that while the virus has impacted everyone a huge number of our parishes on the coast and in the southern mountains are still working hard to help families and their communities impacted by the bushfires.

The Reverend Doug Newman from Batemans Bay said to me that the magnitude of the rebuilding task is so large that some people in his parish planning to rebuild are only having their destroyed houses removed this week. Others have relocated to temporary accommodation or have downsized to another property, and are finding as the weather changes that they have no winter clothes or heaters and are now having to buy those as they rebuild their lives.

The isolation caused by the virus restrictions has made maintaining pastoral connections a real challenge for all the fire affected parishes and under-employment is now starting to impact on families and budgets.

During Christmas services this year Gungahlin Anglican Church took up an offering to be passed on to those in need. When the impact of the Bushfires became clear and after discussions with Reverend Doug, we decided to convert the offering into $50 Coles gift cards that could be used for those in need.

Gift cards were dropped off to Batemans Bay Anglican, a church in Bega and Sapphire Coast parish, for distribution to those in need.

Reverend Andrew Taylor, Rector, Batemans Bay, and Reverend Lou Oakes Rector, Sapphire Coast Anglican Parish

I would encourage everyone to consider supporting and continuing to pray for those impacted by the devastating bushfires.

In Matthew 22, Jesus calls us to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbour. How is God challenging you to show love in these challenging and unusual times?

by Reverend Andrew Taylor, Rector, Gungahlin Anglican Church

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