Janice Ackland has commenced her work as the Diocese’s first bushfire recovery pastoral care worker. Janice will be working across the Eurobodalla Shire Council Area which includes the Parishes of Batemans Bay, Moruya and Bodalla/Narooma as well as St Peter’s Anglican College Broulee.
Her role will be to provide pastoral care to bushfire affected individuals and families and to assist them to access further support through local churches and other community organisations.
Janice is a trained social worker with theological qualifications and chaplaincy experience. She is the first of three pastoral care workers to be appointed across the Diocese under an initiative supported by the Anglicare Bushfire Appeal, Anglican Aid, the Bush Church Aid Society and the Anglican Investment and Development Fund.
Bishop Mark Short said Janice’s appointment has come at a vital stage in the recovery process.
‘With the tentative lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions the opportunities for community connection are great. While the summer bushfires may seem a world away in light of all that has happened since, the ongoing impacts are very real for those most affected. It is vital that the Diocese and its ministry units and agencies continue to engage these people and their needs in Christ’s Name.’
It is a very great privilege to have been invited to take up this pastoral care role in the Eurobodalla in the aftermath of the bushfires and to come beside people who have been through such a challenging year. My husband James and I have made the move from the Illawarra to Bawley Point to be close to the area in which I will be spending most of my time.
There are many wonderful people in the local communities and churches who have been supporting each other for many months now, and I see my role as a partnership with them in the work of healing and recovery. I am looking forward to being able to contribute to the building up of caring, healing communities and, with God’s help, being an encouraging presence that will reflect the love of Christ.
Anglicare Moruya has been very generous in creating an office space for me and it will provide a quiet place to see people in need of pastoral support. I will be working alongside the Anglicare Bushfire Recovery team and hope to receive referrals from them as well as from the community.
I am hoping to be involved with local parishes as well where there is a need for Pastoral Care support.