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“Rather than imposing solutions, it’s about listening, then asking. What are a person’s hopes, what are their dreams? How can we authentically walk with them to see long-lasting results in their life?” Community Chaplain Team Leader Tim Burns said.
Tim coordinates and supports our six Community Chaplains working across six regions and seven chaplains covering 28 of our community housing complexes.
For Tim, the role of Community Chaplains is as much about being proactive as reactive.
“From a disaster response point of view, we are there and able to help,” he said.
When ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie resulted in significant flooding through Central Queensland in March, Community Chaplain in the South Burnett region, Mark Wall, was on hand to rally volunteers to help local farmers remove significant amounts of flood debris from hay crops.
“Understanding the problem and understanding that these farmers were not able to employ labour, I and our volunteer Rural Chaplain gained the assistance from a keen bunch of volunteers from the Caloundra Church of Christ and removed the flood debris, as well as clean irrigation lines, which enabled a large majority of the crops to be recovered. As a very happy farmer said to me a week later, ‘Tell those boys that their work was very successful. I only came across one piece of flood debris when I was mowing the crop and I saw it in time before it went through the machine’,” Mark said.
In flooding rains, and throughout years of drought, our community chaplains are there providing a listening ear, and hope. The relationships they develop and their long-term presence mean they can work to bring communities together to support each other, increasing resilience.
Adrian Toft, a Community Chaplain based in the Samford Valley, has become a valuable member of the community, able to help people in their time of need.
“Even though it is a more affluent community, scratch beneath the surface and there are people who are struggling through mental health issues, domestic and family violence, death of a loved one or money problems,” Adrian said.
“When the owner of a local shop, for example, became ill and had to go home to New Zealand for treatment, I was able to gather support to ensure that his wife could continue to run the business and support their children.”
“Through all the situations life throws at us, our Community Chaplains are working with people to make life more comfortable, and more bearable,” Tim said.
This end of financial year, invest in your communities by giving the gift of a community chaplain. Donate today at giftachaplain.com.au.