An Army responding in love
Commissioner James Knaggs, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army’s Australia Southern Territory, used the pages of
On Fire, a Salvation Army in-house publication in Australia, to reflect on the impact of the bushfires and pledged long-term support. The words below are excerpted from two of his columns:
THE Salvation Army has joined forces with the emergency workers, the police and ambulance staff, and thousands of other people in reaching out to those who are in pain.
I have witnessed first-hand both the trauma of these fires and the powerful grace of God, expressed through our people on the job.
I thank God for so many willing volunteers, who have ‘poured themselves out’ for others. They have given themselves unselfishly, preparing and serving food, meeting victims, offering financial support and counselling as needed.
We are serving and journeying with so many in this crisis of indescribable dimensions. We share the raw pain and shock of this incredible loss of lives and livelihoods. We are witness to the despair in the minds of the victims, and the horror in the faces of the workers. Yet in the hearts and actions of Salvos, we see an ‘outliving of hope’.
|Lieut-Colonel Peter Walker (centre) and Major Brendan Nottle talk to a local man from one of the fire-hit communities|
We understand that the depth of pain and grief of loss is impossible to measure or describe. Those who have lost loved ones will never be the same.
Fellow Salvationists, staff, friends of the Army; please understand our depth of commitment to the people of Victoria. We are in this for the long term. The Salvation Army will not walk away or give up after the initial emergency is over.
In communities that are broken and hurting we will endeavour to be stewards of healing and hope.
The Salvation Army will remain connected with other service providers, government, the business community and all whose desire is to work together over the long term to restore life and vitality to these communities.
Thank you to those who have managed to help so far. We’re going to need more help as we go forward.