Multifaith gathering demonstrates Victoria’s unity in bushfire crisis
Victoria’s faith and political leaders met on the steps of Parliament House this morning to acknowledge the loss and devastation caused by the recent bushfires.
Parliamentary Chaplain Hugh Kempster led attendees in prayer to remember the Victorians who lost their lives, and to keep the firefighters, emergency services and volunteers safe as they continue to face the most severe fires Victoria has ever seen.
Hosted by the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and its Multifaith Advisory Group, the gathering brought leaders on all sides of politics together including The Premier of Victoria The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Leader of the Opposition The Hon. Michael O’Brien and Leader of the Victorian Greens, Dr Samantha Ratnam.
Together, they stood in unity with faith leaders to pay their respects and thank firefighters, emergency services and volunteers for their dedication, bravery and service.
In his address the Premier Daniel Andrews acknowledged the contribution of Victoria’s different religious groups and he made specific mention of the Greek Archdiocese appeal and the generous donations of the Vic-toria’s Greek Orthodox community.
Victorian Multicultural Commission, Chairperson Vivienne Nguyen said the gathering demonstrated the strength of the Victoria’s diverse community in coming together to support each other in times of crisis.
“On behalf of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and alongside all Victorians, I extend my sincere thanks to the firefighters, emergency services workers and volunteers who have led the response to this unprecedented fire season.”
“I would also like to acknowledge the selfless efforts of multicultural communities who have volunteered their time and services, raised funds and provided support to those in need. Your acts of kindness and compassion speak volumes about the strong, multicultural, multifaith community we have here in Victoria,” she said.
Chairperson of the Faith Communi-ties Council of Victoria, Reverend Albert (Bhakta Dasa) Lange also acknowledged the ongoing services provided by faith groups and representatives.
“We would especially like to acknowledge the ongoing services provided by the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry which, through their emergency chaplains, continue to provide a multicultural and multifaith response to those severely affected in the bushfire regions of Victoria,” he said.
With the crisis far from over, relief and recovery efforts are expected to take months, if not years. The Victorian Government, in partnership with Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation and the Salvation Army has established a Bushfire Disaster Appeal to support Victorians impacted by the fires.
Donations to the Bushfire Disaster Appeal can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or online via: https://www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au/make-a-donation/bushfire-disaster-appeal/
All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible and donors will be provided with a tax receipt through the Foundation.