During the late 2019/early 2020 bushfires, areas surrounding Milton Ulladulla Baptist Church (MUBC), located on the NSW South Coast, were affected. In Lake Conjola, located about 5km away from where the church is, 90 homes were lost – including homes belonging to two families in the church. Other fires around Milton caused damage to many fences and sheds. But according to Greg Pollock from MUBC, “The people who weren’t directly impacted by the fires have shifted focus onto Covid and forgotten the devastation that happened in the area at the beginning of the year…Because of Covid, there’s been a loss of visibility of those who had been impacted by the bushfires.”

At MUBC, continuing to care for those who were impacted by the fires is vital. Greg (who is the Church Secretary) took on a coordinator role for bushfire relief and, in conjunction with the Church Treasurer, allocated funds donated by church members, and funds received from the Baptist Association’s Bushfire Relief & Recovery Campaign. Aside from helping those within the church with some immediate cash relief for essentials, Greg and his team aimed to help locals in ways that didn’t duplicate what the community was already doing.

“There was lots of help available for individuals through all the different agencies,” Greg explains. “But in discussions with a small self-contained shopping centre located near the church, the guy who owns the supermarket mentioned that with no tourists, they were suffering financially. They normally used the December-January holiday period to make money that then helps them throughout the year. So, our church provided them with small monetary gifts. With assistance from the Association’s relief fund, we have also put together packages with vouchers, where the money for the vouchers supports local businesses. I’ve gone out to local schools to find families that are still being impacted by the fires, and we will soon approach them with these packages.”

These businesses are particularly appreciative of this help given the current climate. “Covid has put something on top of what was already a problem, creating additional burdens for individuals and businesses,” Greg says. “They lost a lot of trade with the bushfires, and then the pandemic hit, so having some additional income come in from us buying vouchers has really helped them through this time.”

The impact that MUBC has made has been strengthened by their partnerships. “Whilst we did receive some donations from people within the church, it would’ve only gone so far,” Greg says. “Being able to hook into the Baptist Association and access bushfire relief funds has meant that we’ve been able to help more people.” The relationship with the Association has also helped with connections. “There’s a church in Western Australia that approached the Association about helping out,” Greg explains. “Kelly Crawford connected that church with us. We told them about a business owner within our church who does water activity lessons and was suffering financially due to the lack of tourists. They were able to donate to his business.”

P R A Y //

  • Praise God for the power of partnership and unity within the Church
  • Pray that community would not forget that people are still being impacted from the bushfires
  • Pray for the care packages that are about to go out; that they would show people that there is a church that cares for and loves them – and that those people would come to seek further the God that this church is serving


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