By Muriel Porter, The Church Times
The Australian Primate, Dr Phillip Aspinall, who is the Archbishop of Brisbane, in Queensland, has launched an appeal to assist flooded parishes in his province.
The Australian Anglican Primates’ appeal will assist congregations that “will struggle for some time to pay stipends and other operating costs”, Dr Aspinall said.
Five Anglican parishes in Brisbane were offered as evacuation centres, as authorities predicted that up to 20,000 homes would be inun-dated on Wednesday night, when the Brisbane River was expected to peak.
The central business district of Brisbane has been shut down. Minimal public transport is operating, and electricity has been cut to 100,000 homes. At least 30 suburbs are affected by the rising floodwaters. Toowoomba and other towns near Brisbane suffered a water surge described as an “inland tsunami”.
One report suggested that 30 people have died, and 78 people are missing, since the flooding began in south-east Queensland.
The only church buildings in Brisbane diocese to have suffered damage are All Saints’, Warra, and St Mary’s, Condamine. The damage to church property in the diocese of Rockhampton “is more widespread”, Dr Aspinall said, reporting that St George’s, Theodore, St Mark’s, Alpha, and All Souls’, Wowan, were flooded.
The Church had teams working with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane’s office and the Red Cross, Dr Aspinall said.
“We have been humbled by the magnitude of the damage the floods have caused.” The Vicar-General of the diocese of Melbourne, the Rt Revd Paul White, has offered the support of Melbourne Anglicans to all those affected by the floods.
“We still remember clearly the outpouring of compassion we received from around the nation when Victoria was reeling from the 2009 bushfires.
“We offer that back to the utmost extent to those in Queensland and New South Wales who are dealing with a very different catastrophe, but one which has also devastated lives, homes, and livelihoods. We pray that they too will feel this support sustaining them.”
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, has also opened an appeal for flood victims. “Our hearts go out to those bereaved families and those still waiting for news of loved ones. Others have seen the floods sweep away their homes and livelihoods,” he said.
Payments to the Australian Anglican Primates’ appeal can be made as follows: by cheque, made out to “Archbishop’s Emergency Relief Fund” and sent to ANFIN, GPO Box 421, Brisbane, QLD 4001; and by electronic transfer to: Archbishop’s Emergency Relief Fund; A/C BSB: 704-901; A/C No.: 00014858.