While COVID concerns and braving the winter weather may be front-of-mind for many at the moment, a group of dedicated Lutherans are making sure those affected by the Cudlee Creek bushfire aren’t forgotten.
Collectively the group maintains a number of services to fire-affected families in and around the Adelaide Hills, including meals delivery and a manual labour service that helps property owners clean up and restore their land to pre-bushfire status.
Working alongside them from the beginning has been Lutheran Community Care, providing free counselling services and financial guidance to those facing loss, grief and trauma.
Tamara Martin, LCC Family Relationship Practitioner, says that feeling supported and heard has been a blessing for many, and counselling with a Christian perspective has been deeply meaningful.
“In counselling, God’s love allows us the privilege of being with people, listening deeply as they share personal stories and work through feelings of loss and the pain of grief,” she says.
Mental health and wellbeing have been identified as a priority and LCC, Top of the Valley pastors and key church contacts have been working to develop ways to make the subject easier to broach.
“Offering care packs which contain local products, as well as information on mental health, the LCC counselling services and inspirational messages from the LCA has been a great way to connect with and support people,” says Tamara.
The care packs have been distributed by pastors and key church members to locals who have suffered large losses and setbacks from the fires, helping them to remember they’ve not been forgotten, and offering them the opportunity to talk further.
Feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive and Tamara says although there is a sense that many are still struggling to cope with the devastation the fires have brought, LCC and the Top of the Valley congregations have made a commitment to stick by the community for as long as it takes.
“We see God’s love in action everywhere,” says Tamara.
“It is God’s great love within people that empowers them to reach out and help others during, and long after, the fires. God’s love is experienced in the many acts of compassion and kindness – trees being planted, fences and homes being rebuilt, the clearing of debris. And God’s love is in nature – the new growth and possibilities of each new day.”
Counselling and financial counselling appointments with Lutheran Community Care can be made for a one-off chat or for ongoing support. Appointments can be attended in person at the Woodside Lutheran Church office or over the phone or Zoom. To make an appointment, please call 0438 890 256 (counselling) and (08) 7070 6717 (financial counselling).
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